Canadian Pharmacists Association
Canadian Pharmacists Association

Decreasing flu shot demand could point to difficult flu season ahead

September 15, 2022 (Ottawa): The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) is raising concerns about the falling demand for flu shots ahead of what could be a challenging flu season. According to a new national survey conducted by Abacus Data, only 50% of Canadians say they will get the flu shot this year, down 6 points from a survey conducted in 2021.

“With fewer Canadians planning on getting a flu shot this year, we are very worried about the impact that could have on flu spread in our communities,” said Dr. Danielle Paes, Chief Pharmacist Officer, CPhA. “The unseasonal spike in respiratory illnesses this summer combined with the influenza rates we’ve seen in the southern hemisphere could signal a difficult flu season ahead.”

Emerging data from the southern hemisphere suggests Canada will also see a more severe flu season with a return to pre-pandemic influenza levels. After two years with record low flu activity, largely attributed to the public health measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, we need to prepare for a more typical flu season—which is especially concerning as our health system struggles with significant staff shortages and capacity issues.

Pharmacists are gearing up for another busy fall, with a growing number of Canadians planning to visit their pharmacy for their flu shot—62% of those planning on getting a flu shot will get it at a pharmacy, up 6 points since last year. Pharmacies’ accessibility makes getting a flu shot easy and convenient, close to home. Pharmacies should start receiving their flu shot supply throughout October.

“We are urging Canadians to get their flu shot once its available this season,” added Paes. “It’s the best way to help protect yourself and those around you from getting the flu. We need to do all we can to limit the spread of influenza within our communities and ensure that our already struggling health system is not overwhelmed by a sharp rise of flu cases this fall.”

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