TORONTO — Canadians don’t seem to see the H1N1 virus as a personal threat, and few currently plan to get vaccinated against the virus, a new poll indicates.
The Canadian Press Harris-Decima poll suggests interest in the H1N1 flu vaccine has declined in Canada, with only a third of people now saying they will get the shot, compared to 45 per cent in late August.
“I think that that’s a significant decline. And it indicates . . . either a higher level of confusion over what the right approach is, or a lower sense of risk,” Doug Anderson, senior vice-president at Harris-Decima, said Thursday.
Ironically the poll findings come at a time when the federal government is under intense pressure to fast-track approval of the H1N1 vaccine so that immunization efforts can begin sooner than the projected early November launch. Canada has bought 50.4 million doses of the vaccine.
“They’re certainly disappointing and maybe a bit dismaying,” Dr. Perry Kendall, British Columbia’s chief medical officer of health, said of the findings.
Kendall said a national public awareness campaign will be launched to try to improve understanding of the benefits of the vaccine and to persuade people the product is safe, effective and in their best interest to take.
“At the end of the day I rather suspect that it will depend on people’s perceptions of risk,” he said of the likely uptake.
The pollsters interviewed 1,000 people across the country for the survey, which has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.