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More and more Canadians consider measles dangerous compared to COVID and flu: poll – National | Globalnews.ca

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As cases of measles continue to spread across the country, a new poll shows that most Canadians perceive the highly contagious disease as dangerous, while fewer say the same for viruses like COVID -19 and the flu.

The Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News found that 76 per cent of Canadians perceive measles as dangerous, while 71 per cent say the same for COVID-19 and 57 per cent for the flu.

The poll also found that 83 per cent of Canadians have confidence in the safety of the measles vaccine, compared to 80 per cent for the flu vaccine and 71 per cent for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I think (Canadians) view the consequences of measles, particularly among children and youth, as more serious than the flu or COVID,” said Sean Simpson, vice-president of public affairs at Ipsos, at Global News.

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“Measles has a greater impact and therefore people recognize that measles may be more serious than COVID-19 or the flu. »

He noted that the measles vaccine, available in Canada since 1963, enjoys greater confidence among the population. However, newer vaccines, such as those against COVID-19, are perceived to be somewhat less safe.


Click to play video: “Canada sees diminishing measles vaccine supply”


Canada sees diminishing supply of measles vaccines


Canada is experiencing an increase in measles activity compared to 2023. The latest data from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) shows that as of Wednesday, 40 cases of measles have been reported in Canada this year, this which is already more than three times the number of cases reported last year.

The public health agency received reports that seven of those people with measles required hospital care. The majority of measles cases in Canada involve unvaccinated people, most of whom are children, PHAC said in a statement.

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“There are many different points of view, but there are places where we should not cross swords. And when we do that, we confuse people,” Health Minister Mark Holland told Global News on Wednesday.

“So making sure that all parties make unequivocal statements about the importance of vaccinations and why they save lives, while measles is just one example when people don’t understand that.”

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that causes flu-like symptoms. It is also considered more contagious than COVID-19 and the flu, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is so contagious that the virus can survive for up to two hours in an airspace after an infected person leaves an area.

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The virus presents symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat and red rash. In severe cases, it can lead to complications such as pneumonia and even death, especially in young children and those with weakened immune systems.

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“Most people get their first measles vaccine – more than 90 percent do. But many people do not get this second measles injection. We only have about 70 percent,” Holland said.

Should the measles vaccine be mandatory across Canada?

The measles vaccine is available in Canada as the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) or measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccine. Since its authorization, the vaccine has resulted in a more than 99 percent reduction in measles cases, according to the federal government.

The disease was eradicated in Canada in 1998 following a vast vaccination campaign. However, in recent years, it has resurfaced due to a decline in vaccination rates, according to Health Canada. Most cases come from abroad, brought to the country by unvaccinated or underimmunized travelers.

The measles vaccine is required for school attendance in most provinces, but parents can obtain exemptions for medical, religious or conscience reasons.

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Click to play the video: “Measles: symptoms to watch for and what vaccinated people need to know”


Measles: symptoms to watch for and what vaccinated people need to know


The Ipsos poll said two-thirds of adults surveyed said they had been vaccinated against measles, and 24 percent said they did not remember.

“Many of us simply don’t remember if we are up to date on our vaccinations,” Simpson said. “I think there will be a lot of conversations with doctors over the next few months, to look at those vaccination records and see if everyone is up to date on the recommended vaccines.”

The poll also found that two-thirds of parents said their children had received the measles vaccine. However, one in ten are unsure of their children’s vaccination status, 20 percent have confirmed that their children are not vaccinated and 15 percent intend to vaccinate them against measles. Six percent do not plan to do so.

Seven in ten Canadians think all children should be required to get the measles vaccine unless it is prohibited for medical reasons, the poll found. And six in ten people think children should be required to get vaccinated even if their parents personally oppose vaccination.

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Canadians aged 55 and older are more likely (72 percent) to support mandatory measles vaccination for children, regardless of parental objections, compared to just half of Canadians aged 18 to 34 (52 percent). percent) and 35 to 54 years (51 percent). .

Simpson says the disparity highlights how vaccines are becoming increasingly divisive in Canada.


Click to play video: “Holland encourages Canadians to get vaccinated amid rising measles cases”


Holland encourages Canadians to get vaccinated amid rising measles cases


“We know that COVID-19 has changed people’s opinions and attitudes about many things, vaccination probably even more so,” Simpson said. “Even though most people believe the measles vaccine is safe, many do not believe the measles vaccine should not be mandatory for children. »

“I think this will cause a further divide in society, for those who are in favor of the vaccine and for those who believe that everyone should have their own choice.”

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According to the poll, a strong majority of Canadians (69 percent) agree that the anti-vaccine movement will make many people sick. However, 27 percent believe vaccines are not necessary to boost immunity. Men are more likely than women to hold this belief.

Twenty-three percent of those surveyed expressed fear of discussing vaccines with friends and family. This apprehension is higher among Canadians aged 18 to 34 (29 percent) and 35 to 54 (26 percent) than among those aged 55 and over (17 percent).

“Young people, especially parents, are the most reluctant about their children,” Simpson said.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we found that young women of childbearing age were the most nervous about getting vaccinated themselves due to unknown potential health complications. But in general, it’s younger men (under 35) who are more likely to believe that we have this natural immunity.

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– with files from Katherine Ward of Global News

These are some of the conclusions of an Ipsos survey carried out between March 15 and 18, 2024 on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18 and over was interviewed. Quotas and weighting were used to ensure that the composition of the sample reflected that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The accuracy of Ipsos online surveys is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, if all Canadians aged 18 and over had been surveyed. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to, coverage error and measurement error.



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