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

The Binche Fishing Derby at Stuart Lake is fast approaching. (Binche Fishing Derby Facebook photo)
Binche shares excitement for upcoming fishing derby

“It’s more than just fishing,” says Dave Birdi

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Local youth vaccination clinics underway

Pfizer vaccine will be used

Priya Sharma. (Submitted)
Column: Why ultimatums don’t work

By Priya Sharma It is a common misconception that people can choose… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read