Only 27% Of Canadians Are Worried About Getting Sick From The Flu: Ipsos-Reid for Hoffman La Roche

Canadian Parents Underestimate The Severity Of The Flu – Few Make Appointments To See A Doctor When They Have Flu Symptoms

October 24, 2006, Toronto, ON – According to new Ipsos Reid surveys conducted on behalf of Hoffman La Roche, only a minority of people in Canada (27%) say they are worried that they, or someone in their household, will get sick with the seasonal flu, with only 7% saying they are “very worried.” Regionally, Atlantic Canadians (35%) are the most worried that they or someone in their household will get sick with influenza, while Quebecers (20%) are the least worried. The surveys also reveal that only a minority (38%) of Canadians said they were vaccinated for influenza during the last flu season. The most likely to say they were vaccinated last flu season are:

  • Residents of Ontario (49% vs. 32% of Canadians);
  • Older adults age 55+ (58% vs. 25% of those younger than 55); and
  • Canadians who have a university level education (45% vs. 37% of Canadians with lower levels of education).

Canadians also have little awareness about treatment options available to them. Only 17% said they knew that antiviral medications exist to fight the virus and prevent its spread within the body and between people.

Further, half (47%) of Canadians have heard of the prescription medication Tamiflu – a prescription drug that can treat and/or prevent influenza. Those most likely to have heard of Tamiflu are:

  • Older adults age 55+ (60% vs. 41% of those younger than 55);
  • Men (50% vs. 44% of women); and
  • Canadians who have a university level education (69% vs. 42% of Canadians with lower levels of education).

These are the findings of two Ipsos Reid polls conducted between July 13th and 24th, 2006 (1,052 adult Canadians), and between July 27th and August 1st (1,280 Canadian parents of children age 17 or younger). With samples of these size, the aggregate results are considered accurate to within +/-3.1 percentage points (1,052 adult Canadians), and +/-2.7 percentage points (1,280 Canadian parents of children under the age of 17), 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire populations been polled. The margin of error will be larger within each sub-grouping of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure the sample’s regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to the 2001 Census data.

Canadian Parents Believe That There Is Not Much That Can Be Done For The Flu…

Many Canadian parents believe that once they or someone in their household get the flu, there is little that can be done, other than riding the symptoms out. Parents most common first responses to treating influenza are:

  • Bed rest (35%), and or over the counter medications (33%).

Parents also seem to underestimate the severity of the flu. Only 7% of Canadian parents say the first thing they would do after the onset of flu symptoms is make a doctor’s appointment.

When asked why they do what they do in response to flu symptoms, the most common response by parents is that they are trying to ease the symptoms (26%).

But If Canadian Parents Knew There Was A Prescription, They Would Ask Their Doctor For It…

Interest in knowing about treatment options for seasonal influenza is high. Three-quarters (76%) of Canadian parents say that if they or one of their family members were sick with the flu, and they knew there was a prescription medication that could make them feel better faster and protect others from getting sick, they would ask their doctor for it. Those most likely to ask their doctor for a prescription are:

  • Atlantic Canadians (81%); and
  • Adults age 55+ (85% vs. 75% of those younger than 55).

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 300 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.

To learn more, please visit