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Sorely Lacking – Adult Immunization Coverage in Canada

Across the provinces and territories, adult vaccination rates for preventable diseases like influenza, pertussis (whooping cough) and pneumococcal (pneumonia) infections are well below national immunization uptake targets of around 80 percent. Better and more regular uptake of vaccines could improve health outcomes of Canadian adults and offset some of the economic challenges of an aging society.

In this edition of Graphic Intelligence, we look at how far we need to go. As outlined in a recent C.D. Howe Institute report, the many and complex reasons for un and under-vaccination can be summarized by the `Three Cs`: confidence, complacency and convenience.

  • Confidence is about one’s trust in vaccine effectiveness and safety;
  • Complacency refers to an individual’s low perceived risks of contracting an infectious disease relative to other pressing responsibilities;
  • Convenience speaks to the challenges – in time, energy, indirect or direct costs – involved.

Despite these challenges, there are solutions; immunizing healthcare workers, building an immunization database, and asking for proof of immunization coverage at key stages in adult lives, like entry into to college or university, would all help adult immunization become a routine process.

To read more about the economic risks posed by adult under-vaccination, and the solutions that exist, read “Not Just for Kids: How to Improve Adult Vaccination Uptake in Canada.”