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

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

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

The survey also found that 83 per cent of Canadians trust the safety of the measles vaccine, compared to 80 per cent for the flu vaccine and 71 per cent for the COVID-19 vaccination.

“I think (Canadians) see the impact of measles, particularly on children and younger people, as more serious than the flu or COVID,” Sean Simpson, vice president of Ipsos Public Affairs, told Global News.

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“Measles has a greater impact and so people are recognizing that measles may be more serious than COVID-19 or the flu.”

He noted that the measles vaccine, which has been available in Canada since 1963, enjoys greater trust among the population. However, newer vaccines, such as those against COVID-19, are considered slightly less safe.


Click here to play video: “Canada sees decline in measles vaccine supply”


Canada is seeing a dwindling supply of measles vaccines


Canada is seeing an increase in measles activity compared to 2023. The latest data from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) shows this as of March 9thThere were 24 active cases of measles and two active cases of measles reported congenital rubella syndrome (German measles) in Canada. In total, 26 cases of measles and one case of congenital rubella syndrome were reported in Canada in 2024.

This time last yearThere were three reported cases of measles in 2023, while no case of rubella has been reported since the beginning of 2023.

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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 in airspace for up to two hours after an infected person leaves an area.

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The virus manifests itself through symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat and a red rash. In severe cases, it can cause complications such as pneumonia and even death, especially in young children and people with weakened immune systems.

Should measles vaccination be mandatory across Canada?

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

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The disease was eradicated in Canada in 1998 after a comprehensive vaccination campaign. However, Health Canada says the disease has resurfaced in recent years due to a decline in vaccination rates. Most cases come from abroad and are brought into the country by unvaccinated or under-immunized travelers.

Measles vaccination is mandatory for school attendance in most provinces, although parents can obtain an exemption for medical, religious or conscientious reasons.


Click here to play the video: “Measles: What symptoms to look out for and what vaccinated people need to know”


Measles: What symptoms you should look out for and what vaccinated people need to know


According to the Ipsos poll, two-thirds of adult respondents said they had been vaccinated against measles and 24 percent said they couldn’t remember.

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

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

Seven in 10 Canadians believe all children should be required to be vaccinated against measles unless prohibited for medical reasons, the poll finds. And six in ten believe that children should be required to be vaccinated, even if their parents have personal objections to vaccinations.

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

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Simpson believes this disparity underscores how vaccines are becoming increasingly controversial in Canada.


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


Holland is encouraging Canadians to get vaccinated amid rising measles cases


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

“I think this will create a further divide in society, both for those who are advocates of vaccines and for those who believe that everyone should have their own choice.”

A large majority of Canadians (69 per cent) agree that the anti-vaccination movement will cause many people to get sick, according to the poll. However, 27 percent believe that vaccinations are unnecessary to build immunity. Men are more likely to hold this belief than women.

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23 percent of respondents expressed fear of discussing vaccinations with friends and family. This concern is greater among Canadians aged 18 to 34 (29 per cent) and 35 to 54 (26 per cent) than among Canadians aged 55 and over (17 per cent).

“Young people, especially parents, are the most reserved with their children,” Simpson said.

“Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen that young women of childbearing age were most fearful of vaccination due to unknown potential health complications. But in general, it’s younger men (under 35) who are more likely to believe we have this natural immunity.”

— with files from Global News’ Katherine Ward

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

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