QFC Pharmacist Becky Buerhaus administers a flu shot on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Some Canadians won’t get the flu shot because they haven’t gotten COVID-19: poll

Health officials are worrying about a ‘twindemic’ as flu and coronavirus cases collide

As influenza season begins to make its way across the country, experts say it’s critical British Columbians do what they can to avoid a severe flu season and what some have dubbed a looming “twindemic.”

But according to a new Shoppers Drug Mart poll, some aren’t as eager to get a flu shot as maybe they should be.

According to the poll, 40 per cent of the 1,152 Canadian respondents said they don’t plan on getting immunized, with almost 75 per cent of those people saying that the flu doesn’t worry them because they have made it through COVID-19 thus far without getting infected.

Ten per cent said they think if someone already has contracted the novel coronavirus, they don’t need to get the flu shot – which health officials have confirmed isn’t true.

Nearly half of respondents admitted to going to social events while ill in 2019, long before the pandemic was declared a global health emergency. While the poll results suggest that more Canadians are staying close to home this year – as per recommendations by health officials – 20 per cent of respondents between the ages of 18 to 35 said they are still attending social events with possible COVID-19 symptoms.

ALSO READ: A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

That’s compared to eight per cent of respondents aged 52 or older.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has urged British Columbians to be vigilant in reducing transmission of the disease as we head into the fall and winter – during which other respiratory illnesses become more rampant.

During a news conference Tuesday (Oct. 14), Henry said it’s more important this year than ever to protect ourselves – and those we love – from the flu, which accounts for roughly 3,500 deaths and 12,000 hospitalizations every year.

“We may be healthy, we may not feel we are at risk, but we can pass it on to others who are at risk,” Henry said, adding that children and the elderly are more likely to have severe symptoms if infected.

“This is the year where we all need to do what we can to keep influenza as low as possible in our community so we can protect our community healthcare system but also so we’re able to tell the difference between COVID and influenza.”

The Shoppers Drug Mart poll was conducted online between Aug. 5 to 14.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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