Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Most Canadians plan to get COVID-19 vaccine, but safety fears drive hesitancy: poll

This comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the pandemic

More Canadians than ever say they intend to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a new poll suggests while fear about vaccine safety is the main driver of hesitancy to get an injection.

All this comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the third wave of the pandemic.

At least eight in 10 people surveyed last weekend by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies said they absolutely intend to roll up their sleeve for a vaccine.

The number has been steadily rising for months as vaccines have been rolling out in Canada and around the world, starting at 63 per cent in mid-October, rising to 70 per cent in early February, and 73 per cent in early March.

The online poll of 1,504 adult Canadians was conducted between April 9-11. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

Christian Bourque, the executive vice-president at Leger, said as more people get vaccinated safely, confidence continues to grow.

“We’ve heard of course about a couple of instances that may be tied to AstraZeneca but other than that, I mean, nobody’s growing a third arm,” he said. “So I guess people are kind of warming up to the idea that this is potentially the best way to go, is to get vaccinated.”

Vaccine confidence continued to rise even as the confusion swirled around the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, its potential link to serious but rare blood clots, and changing advice on which age groups should be given that vaccine.

In total, about 7.3 million Canadians, or almost one-fifth of the population, have received at least one dose of vaccine. Health experts say anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of Canadians must be vaccinated to generate what is known as “herd immunity.”

The poll suggests 12 per cent of people surveyed wouldn’t be vaccinated, and nine per cent weren’t sure yet. Bourque said this time they asked questions based on what social media posts suggest are the main drivers of vaccine hesitancy, and most of the concern is rooted in fears about safety, rather than conspiracy theories.

About one-quarter of people who won’t or aren’t sure if they will be vaccinated cited a conspiracy theory about the vaccine containing microchips, but 94 per cent said they didn’t feel we know enough about the long term effects.

Eighty-six per cent said side effects are dangerous, while 85 per cent said the vaccines weren’t tested properly for safety.

As the pandemic’s third wave keeps rising in much of the country, fewer people believe the worst of the crisis is behind us.

Two weeks ago, almost one-third of those polled said the worst was over, but in this poll only 15 per cent said the same. Almost half said we are now in the worst of the crisis, and 28 per cent said the worst is still to come.

Confidence in provincial governments in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, as well as the federal government in Ottawa, is also taking a beating.

Overall satisfaction with Ottawa fell from 58 per cent two weeks ago to 52 per cent now. Satisfaction with the Ontario government plunged from 55 per cent on March 30 to 38 per cent in this poll. In Alberta satisfaction dropped from 47 per cent to 29 per cent, and in B.C. from 63 per cent to 54 per cent.

Bourque said these are some of the lowest confidence numbers for Ontario and Alberta in the pandemic to date, and said the fast-rising case numbers are likely driving the concerns.

READ MORE: B.C. to register people ages 40+ for COVID-19 vaccines in April

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirusvaccines

Just Posted

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

The District of 100 Mile House office. (File photo)
Tax rate for 100 Mile residents dips slightly

Average house assessment up, tax rate down

While the initial deadline for the 2021 Canadian Census has passed, there’s still time to complete it online or by mail. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Census underway across country

Local workers distributing census package to rural areas

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson speaking in the legislature Monday, May 10. (Video screen shot)
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA calls for rural infrastructure renewal fund

Lorne Doerkson said central parts of rural B.C. devastated by flooding, crumbling infrastructure

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

Brad MacKenzie, advocacy chair for the ALS Society of B.C., says having research projects in the province allows people here to have access to cutting-edge treatments now being developed. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds research chair for Lou Gehrig’s disease at UBC

Pandemic has cut off patient access to international projects

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File
Questions remain about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot in Canada

More than two million Canadians have received AstraZeneca and 17 have been confirmed to have VITT

Most Read