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Half of Canadian parents would vaccinate their 5-11 year old ASAP: survey

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TORONTO -

With Health Canada expected to soon begin considering COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for children aged five to 11 years, a new survey by the Angus Reid Institute says that more than half of Canadian parents plan to give their kids the jab as soon as they get the green light.

However, in a sign of the divided opinions on vaccinations across the country, nearly one-quarter say they will not vaccinate their elementary school-aged children even if the vaccines are approved for the age group.

The survey found that 51 per cent of parents plan to get their children vaccinated as soon as it is approved, while 18 per cent said they plan to eventually get their children vaccinated, but would wait a while first. Twenty-three per cent said they will not get their children vaccinated, and nine per cent said they weren’t sure.

The online survey of 5,011 Canadian adults was conducted from Sept. 29 to Oct. 3 among members of the Angus Reid Forum public opinion community. The survey was paid for by the Angus Reid Institute and has a margin of error of +/- 2.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Currently, vaccines are only approved for those age 12 and up, but that could soon change as Pfizer and its partner BioNTech have submitted preliminary data to Health Canada for approval for the five-to-11 age group. A Pfizer spokesperson said last week the company expected to make a formal submission by mid-October.

More than 80 per cent of Canadians over 12 are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and daily infection rates are now highest in the 0-19 age group, having surpassed the 20-39 age group in September, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The survey underscored regional differences across Canada, as fewer than 20 per cent of parents in Ontario, B.C. and Atlantic Canada said they would avoid vaccinating their children, while Quebec and Alberta were at 30 per cent and 29 per cent respectively. The survey also showed that willingness to vaccine younger children was higher in parents with higher household income and among those with university a degree.

With federal agencies now considering the need for booster shots, the survey found that 62 per cent of Canadians would take a third dose immediately if it were available, while 20 per cent said they would eventually get a booster, but would wait first. Only nine per cent said they would not get a boost shot.

The survey also asked when people expect things to be “back to normal” in Canada. More than a third of respondents, or 37 per cent, said they don’t think that will ever happen.

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