More Canadians willing to roll up their sleeves right away as national COVID-19 vaccine rollout begins

  • Majority express confidence in federal government’s ability to effectively manage vaccine distribution

Perhaps it was the reassurance of the first, chipper, elderly patients in Britain who spoke about their experience that has made the difference. Perhaps, as the coronavirus pandemic casts its longest shadow onto what are already the darkest days of the year, the transition of the vaccine conversation from abstract concept to tangible reality has had an impact.

Either way, the latest data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute indicates a notable increase in the number of Canadians who say they are willing to be immunized against COVID-19 as soon as a vaccine is available to them. A month ago, a plurality of Canadians (40%) said they were keen to be vaccinated ASAP as opposed to wanting to wait a while first. Today, half (48%) now want an immediate jab, a boost of eight per cent.

Those 65 and over are among the most likely to say they’re eager to be immunized (61%). But while more in this country express a desire for inoculation sooner rather than later, the number of those who say they will not get a vaccine has remained static at roughly one-in-seven. This rate varies from province to province, making the task for public health officials in some places potentially more challenging than others.

Despite recent speculation and criticism that Canada would lag behind in obtaining doses, it has turned out to be one of the first countries globally to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. As a result, half in this country say the Trudeau government has done a “good job” securing vaccine for its citizens, while a majority express confidence in its ability to effectively manage distribution nationally (58%).

More Key Findings:

  • There is near unanimous agreement that older and more at-risk people should get the vaccine first. Fewer than one-in-ten say it should be “first come first serve”.
  • Among those who say they would wait to be vaccinated or not get a vaccine at all, the majority (70%) express concerns over the potential for long-term side effects.
  • Asked whether vaccination should be mandatory in certain scenarios or places, a majority say it should be for healthcare workers and those in extended care homes.

The federal government announced this week that it had approved the first COVID-19 vaccine for delivery to Canadians. This made Canada the third nation worldwide to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech-developed inoculation, after the United Kingdom and Bahrain had already done so. Nearly 250,000 doses of the vaccine will be taken by Canadians before the end of the year, beginning this week. The longer-term plan is for everyone who wants the vaccine to receive it by the end of 2021.

It appears Canadians are showing more willingness to be inoculated as soon as possible. Half of Canadians (48%) now say they would get the vaccine as soon as it became available, a significant jump from previous studies over the past five months.

Frontline healthcare workers and those at risk in long-term care are the first priority for federal and provincial governments in targeting groups that will receive early rounds of vaccination. If older residents do indeed get priority afterward, which is a subject of much debate, this news will be welcome by this segment. Canadians over 65 years of age are by far the most likely to say they would take the vaccine immediately.

Willingness for inoculation as soon as possible varies across the country. It is lowest in Saskatchewan, where two-in-five (40%) say they would take a vaccine immediately. At least half of residents in British Columbia, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada would opt to get vaccinated right away.

(*) Read the complete article here: http://angusreid.org/canada-covid-vaccine-december/