A recent study suggests that far more British Columbians plan on receiving an influenza immunization this year than in previous years.
A new survey conducted by Insights West, on behalf of London Drugs, found that seven-in-10 (72%) residents plan on getting a flu shot — an increase of nearly 10% from 2019.
In addition to more people wanting to receive the flu shot, researchers say that residents are treating it with more importance as well.
“A majority (84%) in the province indicate that they are concerned about their health and the health of their family right now given the unpredictability of flu season occurring amidst the pandemic,” reads a release.
Additionally, eight-in-10 British Columbians agreed that it’s important to “lessen the potential burden on healthcare resources” and to “do whatever they can to prevent illness during the pandemic.”
“The unique circumstances surrounding the approaching influenza season have many more people focused on protecting themselves, their families, and vulnerable members of the community,” says Chris Chiew, General Manager of Pharmacy at London Drugs.
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Despite an increase in people looking to be immunized, however, the survey also found that six-in-10 British Columbians “feel the flu vaccination can have negative side effects.”
Some respondents (29%) also say that health measures such as physical distancing and wearing masks in public make them less concerned about catching the flu.
Early last month, health officials in British Columbia said they encouraged everybody over the age of six months to be immunized for the upcoming flu season.
When unveiling BC’s COVID-19 pandemic preparedness plan for fall, they revealed plans for one of the largest influenza campaigns that BC has experienced.
“Our fall influenza campaign is going to be on a scale that we have not yet seen,” says BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. “We encourage everybody who’s over the age of six months to be immunized for influenza.”
Health officials say that nearly two million doses of influenza vaccine have been secured for the coming fall and winter, 45,000 of which are the high dose Fluzone vaccine — stronger doses that work specifically for elders and seniors.