Nearly one-third of British Columbians would take a “wait and see” approach to a COVID-19 vaccine, a poll from the Angus Reid Institute suggests.
The poll, released Tuesday (Aug. 4), took an overall look at how Canadians feel about a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 117,000 people and killed nearly 9,000 across the country. Quebec and Ontario have been hardest hit by the virus, with Alberta seeing recent spikes in cases and B.C. reaching 3,641 cases.
Pollsters found that 30 per cent of British Columbians would wait to see how the vaccine worked, or what its side effects were, before getting the shot. That number was similar Canada-wide at 32 per cent, with Ontario and the Atlantic provinces the most likely to wait at 35 per cent and 34 per cent, respectively, and Quebecers the least likely to wait at 29 per cent. Alberta was equal to B.C. at 30 per cent.
British Columbians were the most likely to get the vaccine right away at 52 per cent, above the country’s average at 46 per cent. Residents of Saskatchewan were the least likely to get the vaccine immediately at 33 per cent, with Alberta next at 41 per cent.
About 61 per cent of Canadians overall said they would be concerned about side effects from a vaccine, while 23 per cent each said they would be concerned about getting infected from taking it, its effectiveness or that COVID-19 is not as serious as people say it is.
Canadians who voted Conservative in 2019 were by far the most likely to think the outbreak was not as serious as others say, at 43 per cent compared to eight per cent for Liberal voters and five per cent for NDP.
Across the country, 14 per cent said they won’t get the vaccine when it becomes available, with Alberta and Saskatchewan least likely to get it at 22 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively. Men were less likely than women to agree to the vaccine, and men between 35 and 54 years old were the least likely overall at 21 per cent.
Health officials worldwide largely believe a vaccine could begin to be distributed as early as January 2021, although according to a Russian state news agency, the country said it will begin a national vaccination campaign in October.
Elsewhere, frontrunner Moderna began phase three trials at the end of July, while several other vaccines made by China and by Britain’s Oxford University, based on different vaccine technologies, began smaller final-stage tests in Brazil and other hard-hit countries earlier this month.
Poll results came from an online survey of 1,519 Canadian adults between July 23 and 24, 2020.
– With files from The Associated Press
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