Highlights from the 2021–2022 Seasonal Influenza (Flu) Vaccination Coverage Survey
The Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Coverage Survey is conducted every year to collect information on influenza vaccine uptake in Canada. Survey data are used to estimate the percentage of people vaccinated against flu and to describe knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about the flu vaccine and vaccines in general. With the current pandemic context, questions about COVID-19 vaccination were also added to the survey. Data collection took place between January 4 and February 11, 2022.
On this page
- Purpose of this survey
- Key results
- Knowledge, attitudes and beliefs
- To summarize
- Related links
Purpose of this survey
The survey results provide necessary information about how well Canadian adults are protected against flu, as well as what they know and think about this vaccine and vaccination in general.
Survey results are used to:
- measure progress towards achieving Canada's national vaccination coverage goals
- determine reasons for non-vaccination
- identify potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on seasonal influenza vaccine uptake
- assess how well vaccination programs are working, and how they could be improved
- report Canada's vaccination coverage to the World Health Organization (WHO)
The flu season in Canada normally runs from November to April. Anyone can get the flu, which can sometimes lead to severe complications or death. Some people are at higher risk for complications due to the flu, including:
- people with certain chronic health conditions
- people 65 years and older
- people who live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities
- children under 5 years of age
- pregnant people or those planning to get pregnant
- people who experience barriers in accessing health care
- people who are at an increased risk of disease because of living conditions, such as overcrowding
The influenza vaccine, also known as the flu shot, is the best way to prevent the disease. Every Canadian 6 months of age and older should get the flu shot every year. Getting the flu shot early in the flu season (by the end of October) helps protect from infection before the flu begins to spread.
Figure 1 - Text description
|Flu season||All adults (18+)||People aged 18-64 without chronic medical conditions||People aged 18-64 with chronic medical conditions||Seniors (65+)|
Overall, influenza vaccination coverage among all adults (39%) was similar to the previous flu season (40%).
Canada's goal is to have 80% of those at higher risk of complications from the flu vaccinated. This includes seniors (65 years of age and older) and adults aged 18-64 years with chronic medical conditions.
In the 2021-2022 flu season:
- Only 38% of Canadian adults aged 18-64 years with chronic medical conditions received the flu shot.
- Vaccination coverage among seniors (71%) is closer to the target of 80%; however, no improvement has been observed over the past 3 years.
Timing and place of vaccination
- Most respondents were vaccinated in October (36%) or November 2021 (40%).
- Most respondents were vaccinated at pharmacies (53%), followed by doctor's offices (22%).
Reasons to get, or not get the flu shot
- The most common reason for getting the flu shot was to prevent infection or avoid getting sick (40%).
- The most common reason for not getting the flu shot was the perception they are healthy and/or they never get the flu (23%).
Impact of COVID-19 on getting the flu shot
- Overall, the majority of the population (67%) stated that the COVID-19 pandemic had no impact on their likelihood of getting the flu shot this year.
- In total, less than a third of Canadian adults (31%) stated that they had encountered difficulties in scheduling an appointment for getting the flu shot this year due to preventive measures in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- The most common difficulty encountered was limited appointment availability (11%), followed by concern about being exposed to COVID-19 (7%).
- Most Canadian adults (94%) had either received a COVID-19 vaccine or booked an appointment for getting vaccinated at the time of the survey.
- A small proportion of adults (4%) did not plan to vaccinate against COVID-19, and 1% of the population were not sure if they would get vaccinated.
- Among people who did not receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the main reason for not getting vaccinated was concerns about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines (22%).
- Overall, 47% of vaccinated individuals had received a COVID-19 booster dose.
- The proportion of those having received a COVID-19 booster was higher among seniors (78%) compared to younger adults without any chronic medical conditions (35%).
- Among individuals who did not receive a booster dose, 50% stated that they were very likely to get one in the future, whereas 10% of people were very unlikely to receive a booster dose.
- The proportion of people who reported being somewhat or very unlikely to receive a booster dose was lower among individuals who were vaccinated against flu this season (8%) compared to those who have not been vaccinated against flu (21%).
- The most commonly stated reason for receiving a booster dose was to put an end to the pandemic, whereas the most important reason for not receiving a booster dose was the perception of being well-protected after receiving the primary series.
Knowledge, attitudes and beliefs
Most adults (94%) reported that they considered vaccines to be important for their health and knew enough about vaccines to make informed decisions about getting vaccinated.
The majority of the population (71%) agreed that the opinion of their family doctor, general practitioner or nurse practitioner is an important part of their decision for getting the flu shot.
While most people believed that the flu shot is safe (92%), there were still 38% of respondents who mistakenly believed they might get the flu from the flu vaccine, which is not true for any flu shot. Moreover, 35% felt that the flu vaccine does not protect them against getting the flu.
In addition, more than half of the population believed that it is good for children (60%) or adults (55%) to get natural immunity against the flu by being exposed to the virus.
Overall, flu vaccination coverage among all adults aged 18 years and older for the 2021-2022 flu season (39%) has not changed significantly from previous years. The national flu vaccination coverage goal of 80% for those at higher risk remains unmet. Despite a higher flu shot uptake among seniors (71%), little improvement has been achieved in recent years.
The most important reason for getting the flu shot was to prevent infection or avoid getting sick, whereas the most common reason for not getting the flu shot was the perception that healthy people don't need to worry about the flu.
Although 31% of Canadians reported having encountered difficulties in scheduling an appointment for getting the flu shot this year, the COVID-19 pandemic did not seem to have a significant impact on flu shot uptake this year.
In addition, 94% of Canadian adults reported having received a COVID-19 vaccine at the time of the survey. Among them, only 47% had received a booster dose. The main reason for not getting a booster dose was the perception of being fully protected with primary series.
For more information about the Seasonal Influenza Coverage Survey, please contact us at email@example.com.
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