Via Metro.ca, a report by Helen Branswell of The Canadian Press: Young parents embracing flu shots: poll. Excerpt:
Increasing numbers of adults in their child-rearing years are becoming convinced that getting a flu shot for themselves and their children is a good idea, a new poll suggests.
The Harris-Decima poll, done for The Canadian Press, found that those aged 18 to 34 and those with children in their households were the two demographics which had the highest rates of flu-shot converts than any other.
“What appears to be occurring is that over the years younger Canadians and parents are particularly becoming more convinced that they will do it (get a flu shot) in the coming year if they haven’t done it very often in the past five,” said Doug Anderson, senior vice president for public affairs for the polling firm.
With this year’s flu season shaping up to be an H1N1 year, that’s a good thing.
Newly released data from researchers at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control suggests children under five are the most vulnerable segment of the population when it comes to this family of flu viruses.
In a submission to the online disease monitoring system ProMed, the BCCDC’s flu expert Dr. Danuta Skowronski said she and colleagues looked for antibodies to H1N1 viruses in blood samples from people in a range of ages.
Less than 20 per cent of children under age five have antibodies to H1N1 viruses. That’s not really a surprise; they would have been born after the 2009 pandemic which brought the new H1N1 virus into the mix of flu viruses that circulate during the Northern Hemisphere winter.
Adults aged 20 to 39 and 40 to 69 are also less likely to have antibodies that protect against H1N1, with 45 to 50 per cent and 35 to 40 per cent respectively showing antibody protection.
School-aged children and those 70 and older are less vulnerable to H1N1 viruses than other demographics, the work found. The attack rate among young children was the highest during the H1N1 pandemic, explaining the high degree of protection now within that group. And exposure to related viruses decades ago appears to have given many seniors enduring protection against this virus family.
The Harris-Decima poll reports that about 41 per cent of Canadians say they got a flu shot last year and 44 per cent have either had a shot already (33 per cent) or intend to get one this year.
Those figures may actually be over-estimates. Firm real-time figures on how many Canadians get flu shots aren’t available — jurisdictions don’t keep an actual count.
But estimates calculated based on Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey — which surveys about 65,000 Canadians on health behaviours every year — suggest that over the past five years or so, between one-quarter and one-third of Canadians have been vaccinated each year.