Toronto, ON, November 6, 2020 – Researchers around the globe are working tirelessly to develop a vaccine against COVID-19 with optimistic results, as several options have reached the third and final phase of clinical trials. The Canadian Government has invested in numerous COVID-19 vaccine candidates and have agreed to purchase millions of doses in the event that one of the options is safe and effective.
Vaccine developers continue to face challenges during their work to develop a vaccine, but could a lack of public support be a hurdle they can’t overcome? A new Ipsos poll for Global News finds that just half (54%) of Canadians would be willing to take a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they could.
Support For Mandatory Vaccines Continues To Trend Down
Back in July, seven in ten (72%) Canadians reported that they were supportive of a COVID-19 vaccination being mandatory for all Canadians. Since then, support for mandatory vaccination has only declined, dropping to 63% in September, with recent polling showing that this figure now sits at 61%.
Atlantic Canadians appear to be significantly more supportive of mandatory vaccinations, with 75% indicating as much, while other Canadians trail behind in their enthusiasm (vs. SK/MB 65%, Quebec 63%, BC 60%, AB 58%, Ontario 57%).
There is certainly a sense of hesitation towards a vaccination – indeed, the majority of Canadians (82%) would wait for reports about the effectiveness or any side-effects of a COVID-19 vaccine before taking it. Canadians are very much on the same page with this belief, as there is no significant variation in agreement across age, gender or region.
Canadians Willing To Take A Step Back For Other In Their Community Who Need Vaccine More
Distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine will undoubtably be another major hurdle in the race to vaccination, a worry that has perhaps been exasperated as Canadians witness distribution challenges with the annual flu shot. Despite this, Canadians appear to be on the same page in terms of who they think should be the top priority, in the event a COVID-19 vaccine does become available.
Nearly nine in ten (88%) Canadians agree that seniors and other vulnerable communities should be the first priority in the distribution of a vaccine, once available. Older Canadians are even more supportive of this notion; 93% of those 55+ agree (vs. 18-34 83%, 35-54 88%).
Interestingly though, Canadians are more willing to step back for others in their community, than for those abroad; a comparatively small proportion (55%) agree that countries experiencing higher COVID-19 infection rates should be made priority over Canada when distributing the vaccine.
Millennials (71%) believe this most strongly, when compared to older Canadians (vs. 35-54 55%, 55+ 43%). This belief is also stronger among Quebecers (63%) and those from BC (60%, vs. Ontario 53%, AB 51%, Atlantic 49%, SK/MB 43%).
But, Is A Vaccine Even Necessary?
As Canadians continue to make changes to their lives to bend the curve, including wearing masks and social distancing, some question whether a vaccine in even necessary. Four in ten (40%) believe that we can beat COVID-19 without a vaccine. This proportion rises to half (49%) among Quebecers, and is also higher among Albertans (46%, vs. BC 38%, Ontario 37%, SK/MB 30%, Atlantic 28%). More than half (53%) of Millennials agree that a vaccine in unnecessary (vs. 35-54 42%, ,55+ 28%), while just under half (46%) of men also agree (vs. 34% of women).
This is however not the belief of the majority; six in ten (60%) disagree that we can overcome COVID-19 without an effective vaccination.
About the Study
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between October 23-26, 2020, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample 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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