BARRIE -- The top reasons Canadians unvaccinated against COVID-19 say they have avoided getting the jab are “personal freedom” and “health concerns,” a new poll has found.

The survey, conducted by the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) and published on Wednesday, found that 58 per cent of unvaccinated Canadians said their main reason for skipping the shot was due to “personal freedom,” while an equal number of respondents cited “health concerns” as their reasoning.

The online survey, conducted between Sept. 29 and Oct. 3 of this year, also found one-third (34 per cent) of unvaccinated respondents said they have not received the vaccine because they do not believe the virus is a serious health threat.

Ten per cent of unvaccinated respondents said they had not received the shot due to “religious reasons,” while three per cent said they “haven’t gotten around to it yet.” Another 11 per cent responded “other” when asked why they haven’t been vaccinated.

The survey also found an overwhelming majority -- 90 per cent -- of unvaccinated participants said they agreed with the statement that the health risks of the pandemic have been “overstated,” while 84 per cent said they believe their own immune system is strong enough to fight the COVID-19 infection.

What’s more, 20 per cent of the unvaccinated respondents said they “definitely agree” that COVID-19 is a “conspiracy that is all about government control,” while 35 per cent said they “mostly” agreed with the statement.

Thirty-five per cent of those who haven't been vaccinated also said they “definitely agree” that the side effects of the shot are more serious than the virus, while another 41 per cent said they “mostly” agreed.


According to ARI’s findings, while Canada is the 14th-most-vaccinated country against COVID-19, approximately eight per cent of adult Canadians have not yet received their shots.

The poll also found men were more likely to avoid the COVID-19 vaccine than women.

The highest proportion of men who said they will not receive the shot were those aged 18 to 34. The survey found 12 per cent of those men said they would not be vaccinated, while only six per cent of women between the same ages said they would avoid getting the shot.

Meanwhile, nine per cent of men between the ages of 35 and 54 said they would not get the jab, while only six per cent of women in the same age group said they would not get the vaccine.

The survey also found Indigenous Peoples were twice as likely to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine as those who do not identify as a visible minority.

“There is still much work for the government to do to overcome mistrust due to generations of mistreatment of Indigenous people at the hands of the medical system,” the ARI website reads.

According to the poll, 13 per cent of Indigenous respondents said they had not received a COVID-19 shot, while eight per cent of those who identified themselves as visible minorities had refused the vaccine.

The survey found six per cent of those surveyed who were avoiding the COVID-19 vaccine said they did not identify as a visible minority.

METHODOLOGY: The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online between Sept. 29 and Oct. 3, 2021, among a representative randomized sample of 5,011 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI.