UOIT researcher warns Canadians what they need to know about flu shot

Nobody likes getting a needle, but it’s time to get your annual flu shot, and Dr. Wally Bartfay with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s Faculty of Health Sciences wants to set the record straight. Too many people are avoiding the shot, and it’s posing a mounting problem for Canadian health care.

“Last year’s compliance rate of 32 per cent is dangerously low when public health officials set a target of 80 per cent,” says Dr. Bartfay. “The shot isn’t just about protecting yourself from the flu. It’s also about protecting everyone around you”

Each year 3,500 Canadians die of vaccine-preventable flu, more than 12,000 lab-confirmed cases of influenza in Canada require hospitalization, and the economic loss through work absences and hospitalizations is more than $1 billion annually.

“Flu prevention measures not only save lives, they are very cost-effective from a public health perspective. For every dollar spent on vaccinations, there is a $16 savings for the health-care system. That’s why shots are free to patients.”

Dr. Bartfay also wants to ensure people know the truth about flu shots. You cannot get the flu from a flu shot, flu shots do not contain mercury, and flu shots are extremely effective in avoiding the flu.

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