Despite doubts about vaccine safety, a majority of Canadians say they intend to get inoculated against COVID-19.

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.

As vaccines have been rolling out in Canada and around the world, the numbers have been on the rise from 63 per cent in mid-October 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.

Leger’s Executive Vice-President Christian Bourque feels confidence is growing as more people get vaccinated safely.

“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.”

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, confidence in provincial governments in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, as well as the federal government in Ottawa, is 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.

 

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