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Fighting the myths surrounding the flu shot

Last Updated Oct 28, 2017 at 8:13 pm EST

Needles containing the influenza vaccine are pictured in Toronto on Oct. 27, 2017. CITYNEWS/Tony Fera

One of the simplest ways to guard yourself from catching the flu each year is to receive the influenza vaccination, yet public health departments across the country face an uphill battle in trying to get people to roll up their sleeves.

About 30 per cent of the population has received the flu shot in each of the last five years, Ontario’s Ministry of Health told CityNews in an email.

Although the ministry does not have immediate information on how effective the flu shot has been, according to Toronto Public Health about 5 to 10 per cent of adults and 20 to 30 per cent of children are infected with influenza across Canada each year, usually in the late fall and winter. That translates to about 7 million Canadians each year.

Excuses, Excuses

So why don’t you get the flu shot? Everyone who chooses not to get vaccinated seems to have an excuse. CityNews spoke with Dr. Andy Simor, head of the Microbiology Lab at Sunnybrook Hospital about the importance of finding the time to get the shot, especially this year.

The flu can lead to severe medical complications, including viral pneumonia, secondary bacterial pneumonia and worsening of underlying medical conditions, according to Public Health Ontario.

Who gets the flu shot?

  • 65% of Canadian seniors aged 65 years and older
  • 37% of adults aged 18 – 64 years with at least one chronic medical condition
  • 31% of children aged six months to four years, which is low compared to the national goal of 80%.


Source: Public Health Agency of Canada via Toronto Public Health. 2015/2016 national influenza immunization coverage survey in Canada

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