Canadian Pharmacists Association
Canadian Pharmacists Association

As flu cases and hospital admissions spike, pharmacists urge Canadians to get the flu shot

Less than half of Canadians have received the flu shot according to a new national survey

December 16, 2022 (Ottawa): The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) is raising concerns about flu shot uptake among Canadians as we head into the holiday season. According to a new national survey conducted by Abacus Data, only 47% of Canadians say they received the flu shot so far this year. Of those who haven’t gotten a flu shot, 4 in 10 Canadians say they don’t intend to get one.

The top reasons given by those who aren’t planning on getting the flu shot this season are a lack of belief in the flu shot’s effectiveness (32%), vaccine fatigue (30%), a lack of perceived need (24%), and the belief that the flu is not serious (21%).

“We want to stress just how important it is to get the flu shot this year.” says Dr. Danielle Paes, Chief Pharmacist Officer, CPhA. “Influenza has hit us hard and early this season and we’re seeing high numbers of flu cases and hospitalizations—it’s putting a significant strain on our health system alongside other respiratory illnesses surging in our communities right now, including COVID-19 and RSV.”

According to the survey, only 5% of those who haven’t gotten the flu shot say they plan to “definitely” get it, while 18% indicate they “probably” will. “This 23% of Canadians who are thinking about getting the flu shot could make a real difference in raising our vaccination rate and limiting flu spread in our communities,” added Paes. “There are lots of reasons to get the flu shot and getting it at a pharmacy is quick and convenient.”

This year’s flu vaccine is also a good match to circulating influenza strains, and with holiday gatherings approaching, now is the time to protect yourself and those around you by getting the shot. Pharmacists are also urging Canadians in addition to getting the flu shot and making sure you are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines to take other measures to prevent the spread of illness in our communities, including wearing a mask and staying home when you are sick.

High levels of virus activity in our communities are straining our health system, which is already struggling with staff shortages and capacity issues. This situation has also led to an unprecedented rise in demand for cold and flu medications, particularly impacting children’s medication to treat fever and pain, resulting in widespread drug shortages across Canada.

Related links:

About the Canadian Pharmacists Association

The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) is the uniting national voice of pharmacy and the pharmacist profession in Canada. As pharmacists undertake an enhanced role in the delivery of health care services, CPhA ensures that the profession is recognized as a national leader in health care, influencing the policies, programs, budgets and initiatives affecting the profession and the health of Canadians. 

For more information, please contact:

Tyler Gogo
Senior Manager, Communications
Canadian Pharmacists Association