Canada is failing to meet federal flu shots targets, according to an internal report by the Public Health Agency of Canada. While Ottawa wants to achieve large-scale vaccination, Quebec has adopted a more targeted approach. Only 38% of Canadians were vaccinated against influenza last year, according to this new report.
Although vaccination programs remain under provincial jurisdiction, the Public Health Agency of Canada promotes vaccination nationally and monitors the spread of flu and similar diseases.
In early 2018, the Agency used a survey firm to determine the vaccination rate of the population and the reasons that were given by those who refused immunization. The results were compiled in a series of internal reports. In particular, the researchers learned that the number of Canadians who took their flu shots had stagnated since 2015 when the Agency began to take a close interest in influenza vaccination campaigns. That year, 34.3% of Canadians reported having been vaccinated.
“Media reports about the low effectiveness of the flu shots may contribute to this belief,” said one of the Agency’s analysts.
Canada Fails To Meet The Federal Flu Shots Targets
The Deputy Chief of the Public Health Agency of Canada, Dr. Howard Njoo, acknowledges that people have busy schedules and lives, but emphasizes the benefits of vaccination.
“Even if you think you are not at risk, it is important to get the vaccine, because in this case, you are also protecting your loved ones, those who may be at higher risk because of chronic diseases,” he said.
According to the report, the Agency has set its vaccination target at 80% for Canadians at risk. However, only 39% of adults with chronic diseases have received their flu shots.
The Agency also looked at the vaccination rate among children under five years of age who are at higher risk of becoming ill. The report indicates that the majority (63%) of children aged 6 to 59 months have not been vaccinated against influenza. In contrast, 71% of seniors received the influenza vaccine last winter.
In general, the flu virus causes 12,200 Canadian citizens to be hospitalized each year and other 3,500 people to die, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.