Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Most Canadians plan to get COVID-19 vaccine, but safety fears drive hesitancy: poll

This comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the pandemic

More Canadians than ever say they intend to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a new poll suggests while fear about vaccine safety is the main driver of hesitancy to get an injection.

All this comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the third wave of the pandemic.

At least eight in 10 people surveyed last weekend by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies said they absolutely intend to roll up their sleeve for a vaccine.

The number has been steadily rising for months as vaccines have been rolling out in Canada and around the world, starting at 63 per cent in mid-October, rising to 70 per cent in early February, and 73 per cent in early March.

The online poll of 1,504 adult Canadians was conducted between April 9-11. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

Christian Bourque, the executive vice-president at Leger, said as more people get vaccinated safely, confidence continues to grow.

“We’ve heard of course about a couple of instances that may be tied to AstraZeneca but other than that, I mean, nobody’s growing a third arm,” he said. “So I guess people are kind of warming up to the idea that this is potentially the best way to go, is to get vaccinated.”

Vaccine confidence continued to rise even as the confusion swirled around the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, its potential link to serious but rare blood clots, and changing advice on which age groups should be given that vaccine.

In total, about 7.3 million Canadians, or almost one-fifth of the population, have received at least one dose of vaccine. Health experts say anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of Canadians must be vaccinated to generate what is known as “herd immunity.”

The poll suggests 12 per cent of people surveyed wouldn’t be vaccinated, and nine per cent weren’t sure yet. Bourque said this time they asked questions based on what social media posts suggest are the main drivers of vaccine hesitancy, and most of the concern is rooted in fears about safety, rather than conspiracy theories.

About one-quarter of people who won’t or aren’t sure if they will be vaccinated cited a conspiracy theory about the vaccine containing microchips, but 94 per cent said they didn’t feel we know enough about the long term effects.

Eighty-six per cent said side effects are dangerous, while 85 per cent said the vaccines weren’t tested properly for safety.

As the pandemic’s third wave keeps rising in much of the country, fewer people believe the worst of the crisis is behind us.

Two weeks ago, almost one-third of those polled said the worst was over, but in this poll only 15 per cent said the same. Almost half said we are now in the worst of the crisis, and 28 per cent said the worst is still to come.

Confidence in provincial governments in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, as well as the federal government in Ottawa, is also taking a beating.

Overall satisfaction with Ottawa fell from 58 per cent two weeks ago to 52 per cent now. Satisfaction with the Ontario government plunged from 55 per cent on March 30 to 38 per cent in this poll. In Alberta satisfaction dropped from 47 per cent to 29 per cent, and in B.C. from 63 per cent to 54 per cent.

Bourque said these are some of the lowest confidence numbers for Ontario and Alberta in the pandemic to date, and said the fast-rising case numbers are likely driving the concerns.

READ MORE: B.C. to register people ages 40+ for COVID-19 vaccines in April

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirusvaccines

Just Posted

Before you take on a pet, make sure you want to have it for life. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Editorial: A pet is a lifetime commitment

Tons of people are getting pets during the pandemic, some for the first time

North Cowichan to consider implementing a new policy on cell towers in the municipality. (File photo)
North Cowichan to consider cell tower policy

Rogers Communications proposal prompts North Cowichan to revisit policy on the structures

Cowichan Valley school district to get new electric-powered bus by the end of the school year. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley school district to get new electric-powered school bus

Bus one of 18 to be distributed across the province

Condemned building of the Twin Gables Motel in Crofton is not safe and yet a teen has been climbing around on the roof while others were ripping the siding off the building. (Submitted)
Destructive behaviour by teens wreaking havoc on Crofton

Residents becoming fed up with the constant vandalism and fires

This tractor was stolen from Providence Farm near Duncan between May 6 and 7, 2021. (Submitted)
Tractor stolen from Cowichan’s Providence Farm

John Deere X300 model was swiped between May 6 and 7

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

An Israeli attack helicopter launches flares as he flies over the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Singh calls for halt on Canadian arms sales to Israel as violence escalates in region

Government data shows Canada sent $13.7 million in military goods and technology to Israel in 2019

Scenes like this one in the dugout are all too frequent for parents and kids arriving to play baseball at Nunns Creek Park these days, spurring a request to the city to let them move to the Sportsplex in Willow Point. Photo from CRMB presentation to City of Campbell River
Needles, feces and the unhoused send Island kids baseball program to greener pastures

Campbell River minor baseball program switches ballparks over growing safety concerns

New homes are built in a housing construction development in the west-end of Ottawa on Thursday, May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Budget’s foreign-homebuyers tax could bring in $509 million over 4 years, PBO says

Liberals are proposing a one per cent tax on vacant homes owned by foreign non-residents

A Canadian flag patch is shown on a soldier’s shoulder in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. The Canadian Forces says it has charged one of its members in the death of an army reservist from British Columbia during a training exercise at a military base in Alberta last year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg
Canadian Forces member charged in death of army reservist during training exercise

Cpl. Lars Callsen has been charged with one count of negligence

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks during a press conference in the rotunda at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday May 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. to use remaining AstraZeneca vaccine for 2nd doses

Health officials say the change is due to the limited availability of the vaccine

A youth plays basketball in an otherwise quiet court in Toronto on Saturday April 17, 2021. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is urging the federal and provincial governments to fight COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on proven public health policy interventions including paid sick leave, and education rather than punitive enforcement measures. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Provinces issued more COVID-19 tickets during 2nd wave: CCLA report

‘A pandemic is a public health, not a public order, crisis,’ reads the report

Capt. Arpit Mahajan of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds - Snowbirds 2 - shows off his ‘Jenn Book’ dedicated to Capt. Jennifer Casey. Zoom screenshot
Homecoming for B.C.-raised Snowbirds pilot training in the province

Capt. Arpit Mahajan flies Snowbird 2 in his first year as a solo pilot with the team

A nurse asks screening questions at an immunization appointment in Nanaimo earlier this year. (Shawn Wagar/Island Health photo)
Island Health appreciates nurses answering the call in challenging times

Health authority draws attention to National Nursing Week

Most Read