When a COVID-19 vaccine is ready, some Canadians likely won't want to get it
TORONTO -- The vast majority of Canadians say they expect they'll choose to get a COVID-19 vaccine when and if one is available, but some others say they likely will not, according to new data from Statistics Canada.
A StatCan study released Tuesday found that those who say they are very likely to choose to get a vaccine are also much more likely to trust their municipal and provincial or territorial governments, as well as the federal government and other people in general, than those who are not likely to choose to get a vaccine.
The study is based on results from an online questionnaire given to more than 36,000 Canadians between May 26 and June 8. StatCan says the questionnaire's findings are not based on a representative sample of Canadians and therefore cannot be used to draw conclusions about the overall population.
Of those who responded to the questionnaire, 68.2 per cent said they are very likely to choose to get a vaccine once one becomes available and 15.2 per cent said they are somewhat likely to do so. Another 4.1 per cent described themselves as somewhat unlikely to choose to get a vaccine, and 7.9 per cent said they are very unlikely to do so.
This means that 12 per cent of respondents – nearly one in eight – said they are unlikely to voluntarily get vaccinated.
It is necessary for a very large percentage of the population to be vaccinated in order to successfully build up herd immunity and eliminate the ability of the novel coronavirus to spread, but the federal government has indicated that there are no plans for vaccinations to be made compulsory in Canada. Although one recent poll found a slight majority in favour of mandatory vaccinations, officials in Alberta and B.C. both seem to have completely ruled out the idea.
The StatCan study looked at the correlation between willingness to get a vaccine and trust in other people and various authorities. More than 70 per cent of those who said most people can be trusted also said they are very likely to choose to vaccinate themselves against COVID-19, versus 61 per cent of those who said most people cannot be trusted.
The gaps were largest when it came to trust in the federal government and federal public health authorities.
More than 77 per cent of those who reported high trust in the government said they are very likely to get a vaccine, versus 54 per cent of those who had low trust. Voluntary vaccination is considered very likely by 76 per cent of those with high trust in federal public health authorities and 44 per cent of low trust in the same bodies.