Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, prepares a dose of the Moderna vaccine in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Almost two in three Canadians surveyed recently said they trust COVID-19 vaccines to be both safe and effective. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, prepares a dose of the Moderna vaccine in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Almost two in three Canadians surveyed recently said they trust COVID-19 vaccines to be both safe and effective. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

New survey on trust suggests most Canadians believe COVID-19 vaccines safe, effective

Canada has approved two vaccines so far, one from Pfizer-BioNTech and a second from Moderna

Almost two in three Canadians surveyed recently said they trust COVID-19 vaccines to be both safe and effective.

Proof Strategies conducts a survey every year to assess how much faith Canadians have in major institutions and authorities.

Bruce MacLellan, Proof’s CEO, says trust in vaccines is not quite strong enough, based on health experts who suggest at least three-quarters of Canadians need to be vaccinated for good herd immunity against COVID-19 to take effect.

“It is concerning,” said MacLellan.

The survey was conducted online with about 1,500 respondents between Jan. 8 and Jan. 20.

The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error as they are not random and therefore are not necessarily representative of the whole population.

Canada has approved two vaccines so far, one from Pfizer-BioNTech and a second from Moderna. Three others are under review; the federal government has bought two more, but neither of those is expected to be considered for approval until the fall.

More than 220,000 Canadians are now fully vaccinated with the two doses the current vaccines require, and almost 930,000 people have received single doses so far.

When the survey was taken, Canada was ramping up vaccinations, with more than 40,000 doses given out most days during that period. In the days since deliveries slowed to a crawl, and faith in the rollout plummeted.

At that time however, 64 per cent of people surveyed said they trusted the vaccines, a number that was relatively constant across the country. Younger people and low-income Canadians expressed less trust in the vaccines.

Eighty-six per cent of those over the age of 75 said they trusted the vaccines, compared with less than 60 per cent for millennials (between 25 and 44 years old) and Generation Z (between 18 and 24 years old.)

Almost seven in 10 people with incomes above $100,000 said they trusted the vaccines, compared to only half of those with low incomes.

The survey also reported that almost two-thirds of respondents trusted the federal and provincial public health doctors they see delivering updates on COVID-19 multiple times a week.

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam said Feb. 5 that Health Canada currently has data that suggests about 10 per cent of the population is not going to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and there is little that could change their minds. She said another 20 per cent or so don’t currently want to be inoculated but could be persuaded.

Tam said some of the questions people have are relatively easy to answer, including some fear about how quickly the vaccines were developed, or questions about the data on how effective they are.

She noted there have been no serious adverse events after the vaccinations in Canada so far, and the more people who do get the shots safely, the more others may be convinced to follow suit.

“Look at our seniors,” she said. “They’re getting vaccinated. The vaccine has so far been safe, with no safety signals, so I think that’s actually a really good way of boosting vaccine confidence, is seeing other people get vaccinated.”

Tam said people who turn to mainstream media for their information are more likely to trust the vaccines than those who rely more heavily on social media.

READ MORE: 12% of COVID-19 rule breakers in B.C. have paid their fines

The Proof survey also found a year into the pandemic, Canadians’ trust in doctors and scientists appears to have grown. In January 2020, the survey found about 76 per cent of respondents said they trusted doctors and 70 per cent had trust in scientists. In January 2021 that had grown to 81 per cent for doctors and 77 per cent for scientists.

MacLellan said it is noteworthy that a year ago, friends and family were the most trusted sources of information for those surveyed, but this year scientists and doctors have both exceeded them.

Politicians did not fare as well. A year ago 40 per cent of those surveyed said they trusted government, compared to 32 per cent this year. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has seen a steady decline in trust over the five years he has been in office, with 46 per cent indicating trust in him in 2016, compared with 32 per cent this year.

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A rendering shows the entrance planned for the Hornby Island Arts Centre. Image supplied
Numerous Comox Valley projects get CERIP grants

Numerous Comox Valley projects have received grants through the Community Economic Recovery… Continue reading

Thrifty Foods. (Black Press file photo)
Thrifty Foods confirms staff member tests positive for COVID-19 in Courtenay

The company currently lists 12 stores within B.C. with confirmed cases

Comox Valley Schools’ distance learning program, Navigate (NIDES), which saw some large gains in enrolment this year, could see a return to normal numbers come September. Image, screenshot
Comox Valley Schools expects enrolment drop come fall

Decline projected online, as more students return to ‘bricks-and-mortar’ classes

Cumberland will be looking to a parcel tax to cover debt for its new water system. File photo
Cumberland plans for parcel tax to cover water debt

Parcel tax review panel would take place March 22, if necessary

G.P. Vanier in Courtenay has six members of the community who have tested positive; Island Health identified seven staff and 78 students who will be required to self-isolate. Black Press file photo
SD71 identifies eight positive cases of COVID-19 and instructs 108 people to self-isolate

The letter noted that all who have tested positive did not contract COVID-19 within the school sites

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read