The majority of New Brunswickers who did not get flu shots last year said they “don’t need”, “don’t trust” or “never get” vaccines, says a new survey.
The Abacus Data survey found that 48 per cent of New Brunswick adults did not get immunized against flu in 2018. Of those, 25 per cent said they did not need vaccines; 14 per cent said they don’t trust vaccines; while 13 per cent said they never get vaccines.
“Vaccine hesitancy is clearly an issue in New Brunswick that needs to be addressed,” says Andrew Brillant, President of the New Brunswick Pharmacists Association and a hospital pharmacist in Saint John. “Too many people simply don’t consider that vaccine-preventable diseases carry far more risk than getting a vaccine."
Brillant said it is well known that immunization saves more lives than any other health intervention. Immunization protects individuals and communities against the spread of preventable disease. As more people are immunized, the risk of disease is reduced for everyone.
“Vaccines can sometimes be difficult to get. Pharmacists are the most accessible provider, and New Brunswick pharmacists are ideally positioned to help improve all our province’s immunization rates – not just flu shots,” says Paul Blanchard, Executive Director of the New Brunswick Pharmacists’ Association. “Pharmacists should also be considered when planning for other vaccines such as measles, whooping cough, pneumococcal pneumonia, as well as those for HPV and shingles.”
New Brunswick is one of only three provinces in Canada that does not have a universal flu vaccination program. The survey found that 96 per cent of New Brunswickers said flu shots should be covered by Medicare for everyone in the province rather than just targeted groups like seniors and children. Ninety-four per cent of New Brunswickers believe the shingles vaccine should be covered by the New Brunswick Health Plan, said the survey.
“Pharmacists are trained to administer injections. Many New Brunswickers don’t have a family doctor or find it difficult to access their doctor, and Public Health offices have limited locations and hours. But patients can access pharmacists on their own schedule, on holidays, evenings and weekends,” said Blanchard. “Allowing pharmacists to help Increase our vaccination rates will help New Brunswickers stay healthier and reduce healthcare costs.”
The survey was conducted online with 3,219 Canadians residents aged 18 and over, from February 26 to March 7, 2019 by Abacus Data. It included a 500 oversample in New Brunswick. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 1.78%, 19 times out of 20.
For more information, please contact:
New Brunswick Pharmacists’ Association
Ph: Toll free (NB): 1-888-358-2345