Albertans and the Flu Shot

Majority (57%) Have Not Gotten a Flu Shot This Year
Majority of Shot Avoiders (58%) Think Side Effects More Problematic than Getting the Flu

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Calgary, AB – In spite of deaths and warnings from health officials, most adult Albertans, and especially younger Albertans, have not gotten a flu shot this year, according to a new Ipsos Reid online poll. The poll also shows that a majority of those who have not gotten the flu shot believe that the side effects can cause more problems than getting the flu.

Getting the Flu Shot

A little more than four-in-ten Albertans (43%) say they have gotten the flu shot this season (October and onwards). Residents aged 55 years and older are far more likely to have gotten the shot.

  • Six-in-ten (63%) residents 55+ years have gotten the shot, compared to less than four-in-ten (38%) 35 to 54 year olds and three-in-ten (30%) under the age of 35 years.

Those who have not gotten a flu shot are also not intending to get one this season. Only 8% of Albertans without the shot say that they ‘definitely will’ or ‘probably will’ get the flu shot this season.

Attitudes Toward the Flu Shot

More than three-quarters (77%) of Albertans agree that ‘it is easy and convenient to get a flu shot for those who want one.’ Convenience also seems to be a non-issue for most of those without a shot this year. Nearly seven-in-ten (68%) Albertans without a flu shot agree that it is convenient to get one.

Albertans are split on whether ‘there may be side effects of the flu shot that cause more problems than getting the flu.’ Overall, 42% agree and 49% disagree that the side effects might be worse than getting the flu. While overall opinion is split, a majority (58%) of those who have not gotten the flu shot agree that the side effects may be worse than the flu itself (31% disagree). Agreement is also higher among younger residents (50% among 18-34 years vs. 44% among 35-54 years, 28% among 55+ years) and women (47% vs. 37% among men).

Roughly six-in-ten (62%) residents agree that ‘the benefits of the flu vaccine outweigh the risks.’ Not surprisingly, agreement with this statement is very high among those who have had a flu shot (92% agree, 4% disagree) and much lower among those who have not had a flu shot (40% agree, 44% disagree). Agreement is also higher among older residents (76% among 55+ years vs. 56% among 18-34 years, 57% among 35-54 years) and men (67% vs. 57% among women).

A slight majority (53%) of Albertans agree that ‘the H1N1 influenza issue is being sensationalized in this province,’ while 36% disagree. Agreement is higher among those who have not gotten the shot (60% vs. 44% among those who got the shot).

These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll of 814 adult Albertans conducted online using Ipsos Reid’s national online household panel between January 16 and 25, 2014. These data were statistically weighted to ensure the sample's regional and sex composition reflects that of the actual Alberta population according to 2011 Census data. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 3.9 percentage points had all Alberta adults been surveyed. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Jamie Duncan
Vice President
Ipsos Reid Public Affairs

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid's marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

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About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. In October 2011 Ipsos completed the acquisition of Synovate. The combination forms the world’s third largest market research company.

With offices in 85 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,789 billion (2.300 billion USD) in 2012.

Albertans and the Flu Shot


Jamie Duncan
Vice President, Canada
Ipsos Public Affairs