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Flu shots help, but there's room for improvement: study

A flu shot is administered in Barre, Vt., Nov.18, 2004. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Toby Talbot

A study by the University of Waterloo says while the introduction of free flu shots has decreased the number of influenza cases in Ontario, there is still room for improvement.

The study, which was recently published in the Journal of Health Communications, says 34 per cent of Ontarians received the influenza vaccine in 2013 and 2014.

Of those who did not, about half questioned either the necessity of getting the flu shot, the vaccine’s effectiveness at preventing illness, or both.

Ontario introduced its universal flu shot program in 2000, since then the province has seen an average of 61 per cent fewer flu cases annually – meaning savings of $7.8 million in health-care costs.

Other reasons given for not getting the flu shot include moral and religious objections, as well as unsatisfactory prior experiences with vaccines.