Just over three out of four surveyed Canadians — 76.9 per cent — said they were very or somewhat willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Published in late March by Statistics Canada, the figure emerges out of the Canadian Community Health Survey. It asked Canadians (excluding residents of the territories) aged 12 and older between Sept. 1 to Dec. 12, 2020 about willingness to receive a vaccine with the reception of such a vaccine being voluntary.
As such, “vaccine hesitancy could pose a threat to the success of a vaccination program,” as Statistics Canada says, citing the relevant literature.
It identifies several reasons for why some Canadians feel hesitant towards receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Most common reasons cited in a June 2020 survey include lack of confidence in the safety of the vaccine (54.2 per cent) and concerns about its risks and side effects (51.7 per cent).
“These sources of concerns may have changed since vaccine testing and approval stages, which demonstrated their safety and effectiveness for authorized groups,” it reads.
Surveying different populations, Statistics Canada finds 74.6 per cent of landed immigrants and non-permanent residents reported a willingness to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, a lower rate compared to the Canadian-born population (77.7 per cent).
Among people designated as a visible minority, 74.8 per cent reported being very or somewhat willing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine with significant variations among sub-categories. While 82.5 per cent of the surveyed South Asian population reported a willingness to receive the vaccine, the rate drops to 66 per cent for the Latin American population and 56.6 per cent for the Black population to use the terminology of Statistics Canada.
Looking at Indigenous peoples, the report pegs their willingness to get vaccinated at 71.8 per cent, with the rate for non-Indigenous peoples being 77.1 per cent.
While not statistically significant, the willingness to receive showed some variation by province. Compared to the Canadian average, residents of Prince Edward Island (89.1 per cent), Nova Scotia (81.5 per cent) and British Columbia (81.4 per cent) were the most willing to receive the vaccine.
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