by David Korzinski | February 13, 2015 9:01 am
February 13, 2015 – Nearly nine-in-ten Canadians say vaccines are effective in preventing diseases – including measles, mumps and rubella – both in individuals and in the community. They are far less certain, however, about the clarity of the science of vaccinations.
The latest survey of Canadian adults from the Angus Reid Institute also reveals generational and regional differences among Canadian parents over whether vaccination should be mandatory among school-aged children.
Are vaccines effective?
While broad national opinion on the efficacy of vaccines to both individuals and the community is an unequivocal “yes”, demographics reveal slightly higher levels of skepticism, depending on where respondents live, what level of education they have, and how old they are.
Is the science around vaccinations clear?
On this question, opinions are more divided. Overall, two-in-five respondents (39%) agree that the science on vaccinations isn’t quite clear. Regionally, this opinion is strongest in Manitoba (48%) and Quebec (47%) and lowest in Alberta (32%) and Ontario (33%).
Less educated respondents (high school or less) are nearly twice as likely to agree that the science on vaccinations isn’t clear as those who are university educated (48% versus 27%).
As to whether Canadians believe that the risk of “serious” side effects may accompany vaccinations, nearly three-in-ten (28%) feel this way nationally. Opinion is strongest in Quebec (35%) and among all respondents aged 18-34 (38%).
Awareness and opinions of “anti-vaccers”
Love them or hate them, celebrity anti-vaccine advocates such as Jenny McCarthy have succeeded in capturing public attention and creating a so-called “debate” on the actual efficacy of vaccines in many facets of society.
Indeed, more than three-quarters of Canadians (77%) say they have seen, read or heard something in the news about childhood vaccinations lately (see detailed tables at the end of this report for further information).
Our survey results revealed Canadians have strong opinions when judging those who oppose childhood vaccination.
Three-in-four (74%) say people who are against childhood vaccinations are “irresponsible”. Ontarians take the hardest line on this (82%), Quebecers, less so, with 60 per cent saying the same; the lowest regional level of this opinion in the country.
Demographically, sentiment is again stronger among Canadians 55+ (83%) and the university educated (81%).
Vaccinations for children: mandatory, or parents’ choice?
The Angus Reid Institute survey canvassed opinion over whether vaccination should be a mandatory condition of children entering daycare or school. Attitudes on this issue are far less unequivocal than, for example, on the questions of whether vaccines work.
Overall, the majority of respondents (63%) do say vaccinations for entry into school or daycare should be mandatory. This sentiment drops significantly to less than half (45%) among Quebec respondents. It is strongest among people in Alberta and Ontario (71%). Vaccinations for school attendance are currently mandatory in Ontario and New Brunswick, although both provinces grant exemptions in certain cases.
Expressed another way, parents in Ontario and Alberta are more likely to say vaccinations should be mandatory rather than the parents’ choice by a ratio of four-to-one. By contrast, Quebecers are almost evenly split on the issue (45% versus 43%).
What do parents say?
Among parents themselves – the age of their own children drives opinion on the issue of mandatory vaccination.
Notably, parents say they are much more likely to vaccinate their own children than they are to support mandatory vaccination.
When asked where they themselves stand on the spectrum of opinion, where “1” represented being totally against vaccinating and “10” indicated total support for vaccinating, the majority (67%) responded in the 9-10 zone, with a further 17 per cent choosing 7 or 8 on the scale. Ontario and Saskatchewan parents were most “pro-vaccinating” (77% and 75% respectively); parents in Quebec least so (49%).
Click here for full report including tables and methodology
Click here for Questionnaire used in this survey
Image Credit: Sanofi Pasteur
Source URL: http://angusreid.org/vaccines/
Copyright ©2020 Angus Reid Institute unless otherwise noted.