- Half of Canadians plan to get the seasonal flu vaccine in the coming months.
- Three in ten never get the flu vaccine, while four in ten get the seasonal flu jab every year.
- Just over half express support for a mandatory seasonal flu vaccine in their province.
- Just over half take active steps to boost their immunity during flu season, including taking vitamins and supplements to improving diet, getting more exercise and taking steps to improve sleep.
- Results are virtually unchanged since 2020.
October 4, 2023
The seasonal flu vaccine is recommended by the Canadian government to be taken by almost everyone who is 6 months or older, in order to mitigate the risk of becoming ill or spreading the flu virus to others. Of note, certain populations are stated to be at high risk of encountering complications from a flu infection, including pregnant people, the elderly, and any who have chronic health conditions. Despite prevalent urging from government sources to receive regular flu vaccinations, results from our recent research indicate that uptake of regular seasonal flu vaccinations is far from robust and has not changed in the last three years.
Just half of Canadians report they plan to get the seasonal flu vaccine in the next three months (50%) or have already had it this autumn (3%), compared to four in ten who state they do not plan to do so (38%). Across regions, Prairie residents are most likely and Quebec residents least likely to plan on getting the seasonal flu vaccine.
When asked how often they get the seasonal flu vaccine, four in ten get it annually (39%), in contrast to one-quarter who never do (27%). Of note, a majority say they get the seasonal flu vaccine either annually or some years (57%). Quebec has a lower proportion than the rest of the country reporting they get the flu vaccine annually (30%).
Canadians also have differing views on whether the seasonal flu vaccine should be mandatory in their province. One-half of Canadians support making the seasonal flu vaccine mandatory (52%), while over four in ten (43%) oppose this, marking an increase in opposition compared with three years ago. Quebec residents are least likely, while those in the Prairies are most likely to support mandatory flu vaccines.
Just over half (54%) of Canadians report they take steps to boost their immunity in preparation for flu season. This varies across the country with Quebec residents least likely and those in Ontario most likely to report taking steps. The most common step Canadians take is adding vitamins and supplements to their diet (52%), while a third focus on a healthier diet and nutrition (34%), and a minority try to boost their immunity with better or more exercise (16%), better or more sleep (13%) or washing hands and sanitizing (10%), along with a wide array of other steps.
Across genders, men are more likely than women to say that they get the seasonal flu vaccine either annually or in some years, and to support mandatory flu vaccines in their province. Results show some age differences of note. Boomers are most likely compared to others to intend to get the flu vaccine this year, as well as to doing so annually. Support for a mandatory flu vaccine does not follow the same pattern, however, with Gen Z as likely as Boomers to support mandatory flu vaccines, while Millennials are least likely to support this. Moreover, despite the varying levels of flu vaccine uptake, there are no differences across age segments in the proportion reporting they take steps to boost their immunity to prepare for flu season. Some differences are also observed depending on employment status, with homemakers/students/retirees likelier to say they plan on getting the seasonal flu vaccine, and that they get the seasonal flu vaccine every year, compared to their counterparts. Perhaps unsurprisingly, those who are concerned about the new COVID variant are likelier to have plans to get vaccinated, say they receive seasonal flu vaccines every year, express support for making the seasonal flu vaccine mandatory in their province, and attest they take steps to boost their immunity compared to those who are not concerned.
Results are from an online survey conducted in partnership between Narrative Research and the Logit Group. The survey was conducted between September 12th and 14th, 2023, with 1,231 Canadians, 18 years of age or older from the Logit Group’s Canadian Omnibus. Data were weighted based on the 2016 Census by gender, age, and region to reflect actual population distribution. As a non-probability sample a margin of error is not applied.
The questions asked were:
In the next three months, do you plan on getting the seasonal flu vaccine?
Do you get the seasonal flu vaccine?… every year, some years, rarely or never?
All things considered, do you support or oppose making the seasonal flu vaccine mandatory in the province?
Do you take steps to boost your immunity in preparation for the flu season?
For more information, please contact:
Margaret Chapman, COO & Partner, Narrative Research – 902.493-3834, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam Pisani, Managing Partner, Logit Group – 416.629.4116, email@example.com
Narrative Research (www.narrativeresearch.ca), is a leading public opinion and market research company headquartered in Canada. The company is certified as a WBE (Women Business Enterprise). As a non-partisan, 100% Canadian-owned research company, Narrative Research is dedicated to providing clients with state-of-the-art research and strategic consulting services.
The Logit Group (https://logitgroup.com/) is a leading North American data collection and market research execution company headquartered in Toronto, conducting large-scale projects for a variety of well-known research agencies and brands. Logit employs industry-best technologies across an array of methodologies, and is independent, experienced and quality-oriented.