Markets soared and optimism surged when Pfizer announced its COVID-19 vaccine trials have yielded 90 per cent effectiveness at preventing the virus. Subsequent announcements by Moderna and a Russian research team are bolstering the first glimpses of what may be the end game for a pandemic that has ravaged the world for more than eight months.
But the latest data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds Canadians no more willing to avail themselves of a COVID-19 vaccine than they were two months ago. Indeed, they are less willing to get one as soon as possible than in July, when the development and success of a vaccine was far from certain.
Two-in-five say they would get inoculated as soon as possible (40%). Close to the same number are more cautious, saying they would wait for others to go first and immunize later (36%). A consistent 15 per cent of Canadians say they will not get vaccinated, while one-in-ten (9%) are unsure. These numbers are essentially unchanged from mid-summer.
While clinical trials for vaccine candidates continue and distribution plans expand, provincial governments continue to deal with the challenge of record high case numbers in their municipalities. Amid this, most Canadians continue to say that their provincial government is doing a good job of handling the pandemic. Residents are most positive in Atlantic Canada (91%), British Columbia (76%) and Quebec (73%). That said, just 37 per cent of Manitobans and 50 per cent of Albertans say their government is performing well. Further, three-in-five Ontario residents say this of the Ford government in Ontario, compared to 76 per cent in August.
Seven-in-ten (68%) Canadians say they are personally concerned about contracting COVID-19. This is statistically unchanged from late-September and remains close to peak levels from the past ten months of tracking.
Half of Canadians (48%) say restrictions in their province should be stronger. This rises to 63 per cent in B.C. and 57 per cent in Ontario. Residents in Quebec and Atlantic Canada are most likely to say their government has hit the right mark.
One-in-four Alberta and Saskatchewan residents say they do not plan on getting vaccinated for COVID-19 (25%). Just 10 per cent of Atlantic Canadians and 13 per cent of British Columbians say this.
Concern levels remain high
Canadians were told in the summer to prepare for a second wave and to be increasingly careful as temperatures dropped, in order to offset the potential rise in cases of COVID-19. Currently, the country is facing a seven-day average of more than 4,000 new cases of the virus each day, well over double the peak rate in the initial spring surge.
As cases dropped over the summer, so too did concern among the population regarding sickness. The subsequent increase beginning in early September has engendered a return to anxiety for many. Seven-in-ten Canadians say they are worried about becoming sick now, a level on par with the initial crest of concern levels in April.
Notably, three-in-ten residents over the age of 54 are “very worried” about becoming sick. That said, this level peaked in September, while concern among younger cohorts has risen slowly and continually since early June.
Anxiety has crept into every corner of the country as COVID-19 has spread. A majority in all regions now say they are worried about becoming sick, something that had yet to happen until this wave of data. Residents in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia are more worried.
(*) Read the complete article here: http://angusreid.org/canada-covid-19-vaccine/