Poll finds most B.C. residents still shun flu shot

42 per cent got immunized, resisters cite side effects

A late surge in immunizations still didn't make those who got the flu shot the majority

A new poll has found most B.C. residents didn’t get the flu shot this season despite a late scramble for vaccinations.

The Ipsos Reid online poll found 42 per cent of respondents got a flu vaccination.

That climbed to 61 per cent among those aged 55 and up, while just 29 per cent aged 18 to 34 got immunized.

The poll found Metro Vancouverites were somewhat more likely to be immunized (45 per cent) and immunization rates rose in line with household income.

Of those who did not get the flu shot, 57 per cent said potential side effects can cause more problems than getting the flu. Sixty-eight per cent of those who actually got the flu shot disagreed with that statement.

Fifty-nine per cent of all respondents said the benefits of the flu vaccine outweigh the risks, while 24 per cent disagreed.

Ipsos Reid pollsters said access appears to be a non-issue as a large majority said it’s easy and convenient to get a flu shot if you want it.

The poll of 803 B.C. residents in mid-January is considered accurate to within 3.9 per cent.

Public health officials say nearly 1.4 million B.C. residents have been vaccinated against the flu since October.

The unprecedented demand has led to shortages of vaccine, although more supply is arriving this month.

Health authorities had warned earlier this month that the dominant H1N1 flu virus circulating was causing severe illness and intensive care unit hospitalizations among younger patients than usual.

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