One month since the start of coronavirus vaccinations in Canada, there is growing support for COVID-19 vaccines, with a majority of Canadians in favour of making the shots mandatory.
According to a new Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News, 64 per cent of Canadians think the inoculations should be made compulsory. Meanwhile, 72 per cent say they would personally take a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they could, without hesitation – a number that has gone up 20 points since November.
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“People realize that vaccines are going to be an important part of getting us back on track,” Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos, told Global News.
“So fighting the disease, but also getting the world back to the way that it needs to be — vaccines are an important element of that.”
But the idea of making the vaccines mandatory also raises some ethical concerns, which is why not all are on board, he added.
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The survey showed that men compared with women were more likely to take the vaccine without hesitation, as were people aged 55 and above compared to the younger demographic.
Kerry Bowman, a bioethicist at the University of Toronto, said concerns about a higher community spread of the virus, as well as no significant reports of immediate side effects from the vaccine, are making people feel more inclined to get it.
In fact, nearly 80 per cent believe that the COVID-19 vaccine will be effective at limiting the spread of the virus.
Canada has so far approved two COVID-19 vaccines – from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. As of Friday, more than 493,863 people in Canada had received at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine. Since mid-December, Canada has distributed 765,100 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
The federal government is aiming to vaccinate a majority of Canadians by September, but most people are not confident they will receive it imminently.
According to the Ipsos survey, which was conducted earlier this month, 13 per cent think their turn will come by that September target, while 19 per cent believe they will have access to the vaccine before the end of March. And 18 per cent of Canadians think they will not be eligible to receive the vaccine this year.
In the initial stages of its rollout, which began last month and is expected to stretch into March, Canada is prioritizing the vaccines for front-line health workers, long-term care residents and workers, the elderly and Indigenous communities.
In the second stage, as additional vaccines and supplies become available, vaccines will be offered to residents and staff of all shared living settings, as well as essential service workers at high risk of infection.
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Canada has recently secured an additional 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which are expected to be distributed this year.
According to the deals signed so far, Canada has ordered the world’s largest number of COVID-19 vaccine doses per capita, but there is growing pressure and concern over the pace of the country’s rollout.
“It’s fantastic that the government’s been able to access as much vaccine as they have been able to access, but it’s really quite a bit later than what Canadians’ expectations are about when they’re personally going to be able to get vaccinated,” Bricker said.
“So there’s a big gap that the governments, both provincial and federal, are going to have to deal with when it comes to what Canadians are expecting.”
Even if it is made available to them, 12 per cent of Canadians say they will refuse to take the vaccine.
Bricker said this is a small percentage of the population that are either people who have already had COVID-19 and feel they have developed some form of immunity, those in remote locations or the group of anti-vaxxers.
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Then there is also hesitancy among some Canadians, with 15 per cent saying they would want to wait until next year or beyond to get the shot.
Bricker said he expected that number will decline over the course of the year as people see more of their friends, relatives and neighbours get vaccinated.
Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.” This poll was conducted between January 5 and 6, 2021, with a sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18+ from Ipsos’ online panel. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. This poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled.