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Majority of Canadians want COVID-19 vaccine, but misconceptions abound

Last Updated Apr 19, 2021 at 8:53 am PDT

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Strathcona Paper Centre in Napanee, Ontario, on Monday March 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

Around 59 per cent of Canadians have received or plan to get their COVID-19 vaccine

About half of respondents say they are worried about the short and long term side effects

Around 15 per cent of Canadians say they won't get the vaccine, likely won't, or are unsure if they will.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As more Canadians await their turn to get the COVID-19 vaccine, a new poll finds there are still a lot of misconceptions and concerns.

Although 59 per cent of Canadians have already or are planning on rolling up their sleeve, a survey from Insights West has found there is a sizeable minority of people who don’t intend on getting a vaccine. Around 15 per cent say they won’t get the vaccine, likely won’t, or are unsure if they will.

“We have about half of Canadians who are worried about the short term and the long term side effects of the vaccine,” said Steve Mossop with Insights West, adding 49 per cent of Canadians think the vaccines were rushed. “Another commonly held misconception is that individuals feel that they’re unlikely to suffer serious side effects if they’re to contract COVID.”

There is also a lot of people who are have concerns about the vaccine, despite still being committed to getting it. More than a third are worried about the side effects and 29 per cent think the vaccine was rushed out. A quarter are worried pharmacy companies is just trying to make a profit and 16 per cent don’t trust information about the vaccine.

Around 54 per cent British Columbians know they will for sure get the vaccine, the highest among any province. Other provinces ranged between 37 per cent and 48 per cent.

Despite the majority opting to get the shot, 25 per cent of people across Canada say the vaccine will not be effective, while about 18 per cent says COVID-19 is not a serious disease. Men and those aged 35-54 are also slightly more likely to be vaccine hesitant. Federal conservative voters are also three times as likely as Liberal or NDP voters to be hesitant.

“So there’s still a long ways to go to reach that critical threshold of vaccinating 80 per cent of the population in Canada to make us all safe,” Mossop said.

Nearly half of Canadians (46 per cent) don’t think they have enough information to know if the vaccine is safe, while another 35 per cent just don’t trust the information out there. Meanwhile just over a quarter think they are being safe enough to not need the shot. However, general injection anxiety could also play a role, with 23 per cent of Canadians saying they don’t like needles.

Around 20 per cent of Canadians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to date.