39% of Canadians say coronavirus vaccine should be mandatory: poll – National


Canadians appear to turn against mandatory COVID-19 inoculations whenever a vaccine becomes available, with a new poll suggesting the number of people opposed to the idea is increasing.The Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies poll is the latest to take the public’s temperature during the COVID-19 pandemic, and comes as governments and scientists around the world scramble to find a vaccine.

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The federal government has also signed a number of deals with pharmaceutical companies to purchase millions of doses of their candidate vaccines if they are found to be safe and effective, for fear of a global drug rush.

While the majority of respondents in previous polls had said they were in favor of the government requiring people to be vaccinated once a vaccine is discovered, the new poll found that was no longer the case.

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Only 39% of respondents said the vaccine should be mandatory, down 18 percentage points from a similar poll conducted in July and more than 20 points lower than in May.

Fifty-four percent of respondents said instead that a vaccine should be voluntary, an increase of 11 percentage points from July and the 15 since May. Six percent of respondents said they did not know.

Canada signs new coronavirus vaccine offers

Canada signs new coronavirus vaccine offers

The online survey was conducted October 9-11 and surveyed 1,539 Canadian adults. It cannot be given a margin of error because Internet surveys are not considered to be random samples.

Léger’s executive vice president Christian Bourque was intrigued by the change, especially since the percentage of respondents who said they would receive a free vaccine as soon as it became available remains relatively high.

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Sixty-three percent said they would take such an offer, down seven points from July. Another 17 percent said they would not, which is a three point increase, while 20 percent did not know.

“So some people who said they would get it wouldn’t make it mandatory,” Bourque said. “In other words, it should be like any other flu shot, which is voluntary.”

The survey does not provide an explanation for the decline in support for mandatory vaccinations, but a Statistics Canada survey in August found some Canadians concerned about the safety and possible side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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“Much of the media attention has been whether this will be reliable, is it coming out too soon?” Said Bourque. “But if they were concerned that it was not safe and should not be made mandatory, why are two out of three Canadians saying they will get it?”

The federal government and public health officials have insisted that while they have cut red tape to speed up approval of a new COVID-19 vaccine, they will not cut corners on what concerns safety requirements.

The poll found an even sharper divide over whether Canadians should be able to pay for a vaccine faster, with 37% agreeing with the idea, 50% against and 13% unsure in the two cases.

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It comes at a time when Health Canada has said it is investigating reports that some private clinics are offering COVID-19 testing for a fee to people who don’t want to wait for appointments with local health officials.

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Coronavirus: WHO targets 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine by end of 2021

Coronavirus: WHO targets 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine by end of 2021

It also comes from the fact that only 59% of respondents said they would likely receive a free flu shot this year, despite public health officials encouraging everyone to do so. Thirty-six percent said they probably wouldn’t get the flu shot.

Despite doubts about a COVID-19 vaccine, there was broad enough support to make vaccinations available to certain priority groups such as healthcare workers, the elderly and workers in long-term care facilities whenever ‘they become available.

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© 2020 The Canadian Press


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