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Polling the unvaccinated: Why Canadians say they won’t get a COVID vaccine

Click to play video: 'Unvaccinated Canadians cite ‘personal freedoms’, ‘health concerns’ for not getting immunized: poll' Unvaccinated Canadians cite ‘personal freedoms’, ‘health concerns’ for not getting immunized: poll
A new Angus Reid poll is shedding more light on why a small number of Canadians are still not getting vaccinated against COVID-19. And as John Hua reports, misinformation is still driving these people away from the vaccine – Nov 3, 2021

Health officials have said Canada’s fourth wave of COVID-19 is a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

According to data compiled by the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford, when it comes to Canada as a whole, eight per cent of residents remain unvaccinated.

A new poll from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute suggests unvaccinated Canadians’ top reasons for avoiding the vaccine are “personal freedom” and “health concerns.”

Canada is the 14th most vaccinated country in the world, but a third of those polled said the main reason they haven’t received a vaccination is because COVID-19 is not a “serious health threat.”

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: breakdown of vaccinated versus unvaccinated in B.C. ICUs' COVID-19: breakdown of vaccinated versus unvaccinated in B.C. ICUs
COVID-19: breakdown of vaccinated versus unvaccinated in B.C. ICUs – Oct 31, 2021
Graph showing the breakdown of who has received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. Angus Reid

When it comes to men and women, the findings suggest men, in particular those aged 18 to 24, refused to be immunized at a higher rate than women.

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Twelve per cent, or about one man in 10 polled, said they will not get the vaccine.

For women, those in the 18-to-34 and 35-to-54 age groups were the most vaccine-hesitant.

Read more: B.C.’s biggest school district, Surrey, will not be mandating COVID vaccines for staff

A look at the difference between men and women getting a COVID vaccine. Angus Reid
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Ontario will not mandate COVID-19 vaccine policy for hospital workers, says it doesn’t want to cancel surgeries – Nov 3, 2021

According to the survey, those in households earning between $150,000 and $200,000 annually are the most likely to say they won’t get vaccinated.

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Households earning more than $200,000 a year and those making between $25,000 and $50,000 were equal in their decisions not to be vaccinated.

A look at vaccine hesitancy by household income. Angus Reid

Read more: COVID-19: Quebec drops vaccination mandate for health-care workers

Indigenous Canadians polled were twice as likely as those who do not identify as visible minorities to refuse the shot.

The provincial and federal governments still have much work to do to overcome generations of mistreatment of Indigenous peoples within the medical system, the pollster said.

Click to play video: 'Allegations of racist game played by emergency room staff' Allegations of racist game played by emergency room staff
Allegations of racist game played by emergency room staff – Jun 20, 2020

Read more: B.C. health workers allegedly bet on Indigenous patients’ blood alcohol levels

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Indigenous Canadians are twice as likely as those who don’t identify as visible minorities to have refused to get vaccinated. Angus Reid

 

Aside from looking at who is vaccine-hesitant and how they identify, the survey also looked at why.

While Canada has been successful in providing access to the vaccine, those polled showed a lack of confidence in its safety, with about 58 per cent, or three in five polled, saying they have ongoing health concerns when it comes to vaccination.

An equal number of people stated one of the main reasons for not getting the shot as being one of personal freedom.

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The majority of those polled cited personal freedom and health concerns as reasons for not getting the vaccine. Angus Reid

Finally, when asked about various statements around the vaccine, the majority of those polled said it’s government’s overreach to require vaccine passports.

More than 50 per cent said the health risks of COVID-19 are overstated, and just under 50 per cent said they don’t need a vaccine because their immune system can handle the virus.

Read more: Advocates concerned over where unvaccinated nurses will work amid mandates

Just over 40 per cent of people mostly agreed with the statement that the side effects of the vaccine are more serious than the virus itself.

Those polled answered questions about how much they agree or disagree with various statements about the COVID vaccine. Angus Reid

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from Sept. 29 to Oct. 3, 2021, among a representative randomized sample of 5,011 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI.

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