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

The Kimber family of Boston Bar lost their home in a fire. Blaine Kimber’s daughter created a fundraiser to help rebuild the home with the goal of $100,000. (Screenshot/GoFundMe)
Fundraiser created for Boston Bar family that lost everything in weekend fire

Witnesses say the Kimber family escaped the fire without injury, but their home is a total loss

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of March 7

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Retired Mission teacher and star CFL kicker charged for assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Alan Sweet taught in school district for 10 years, investigators seeking further witnesses

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

The family of injured Willoughby resident Ronald Gerald Jesso is hoping someone saw something that will help solve the mystery of how he came to be so badly hurt on the morning of Feb. 22. Jesso is still in hospital. (Jesso family/Special to Langley Advance Times)
An appeal to help solve the mystery of an injured Langley man

Family of Ronald Gerald Jesso asks witnesses to come forward

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read