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Vaccine fatigue setting in as officials urge everyone to get flu, COVID shots: poll

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

A recent poll has found that almost half of British Columbians say they are experiencing vaccine fatigue.

The report, conducted by Abacus Data on behalf of the Canadian Pharmacists Association found that vaccine fatigue reduces people’s willingness to get immunized against respiratory viruses.

Twenty-nine per cent of those polled said they probably won’t or definitely won’t get the flu shot, and 42 per cent say they definitely will.

When it comes to the COVID shot this fall, 35 per cent said they do not intend to get one but 55 per cent said they probably will.

“After consecutive years intensely focused on vaccines due to the pandemic, British Columbians may be inclined to tune out this year, but getting immunized remains critical to protecting yourself and the most vulnerable,” Christine Antler, region director, Pharmacy for Pharmasave, said in a release.

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On Thursday, the B.C. government announced its fall vaccine rollout plan for COVID and influenza.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said vaccines will start to arrive in B.C. in early October.

Once they have arrived, Henry said, priority populations will be invited to book vaccine appointments.

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“The threat of respiratory viruses, including influenza and COVID, are still very much a concern. Vaccines are the most effective tools we have to help prevent illness and the spread, protecting the most vulnerable in our communities and reducing the potential strain on the health-care system,” Antler said.

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Health Canada has already approved the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty Omicron XBB.1.5. COVID-19 vaccines and the Moderna Spikevax vaccine.

Henry said both will be available in B.C. soon and they target the XBB.1.5 subvariant for people six months of age and older.

The updated Novavax vaccine is expected to be approved shortly and will also be available in B.C.

“Protecting those most at risk requires that even healthy individuals roll up their sleeves to reduce the spread. Along with taking precautions like washing hands routinely and social distancing when experiencing symptoms, we urge all British Columbians to stay up to date with the recommended vaccines. Pharmacists are available to both administer and provide guidance on immunizations based on age, health status and vaccination history,” Antler added.

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The survey was conducted by Abacus Data among 1,650 adult Canadian residents aged 18 and over from Aug. 3 to 7, 2023. The data was weighted according to age, gender, education, and region.