Despite months of mixed messages, most Canadians who received an AstraZeneca vaccine have no regrets

Despite months of mixed messages, most Canadians who received an AstraZeneca vaccine have no regrets

Vaccine hesitancy plunges to three per cent, but one-tenth of population remain unwilling to be jabbed

May 17, 2021 – As the rate of Canadians who have been vaccinated with at least one-dose of a COVID-19 vaccine surges to more than fifty per cent of the adult population, new data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute shows Canadians have moved consistently and significantly away from attitudes of “don’t know” or “wait and see” to a place of “getting it done”.

The Institute’s most recent public opinion survey shows 53 per cent of adults reporting they have received their first vaccine, while another 29 per cent say they would like to receive theirs as soon as possible. The number who say they are unwilling to receive a vaccine is also trending down – though at a much slower rate.

In the eyes of Canadians, however, not all vaccines are created equally. Just one-third (35%) now say they are comfortable receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Most provinces have paused the use of that brand as a first dose and are administering it for subsequent doses only. The two vaccines that are being used for most vaccinations, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, continue to be viewed in a much more positive light.

That said, the vast majority of those who have already received at least one dose of AstraZeneca express no regrets. Nearly half (48%) say they’re totally pleased with their decision, while nearly the same number (44%) say that while Pfizer or Moderna would have been better, they’re okay with their choice. A mere two per cent of this group expresses total regret.

More Key Findings:

  • Data from Alberta reflects massive declines in hesitancy and unwillingness since the beginning of the year, from 45 per cent at the end of January, to 17 per cent now
  • Saskatchewan remains home to the most vaccine hesitant or unwilling, one-in-four (24%) in that province remain unconvinced about COVID-19 vaccination
  • Despite declining numbers of those who say outright they will refuse vaccination, age and gender remain notable variables. At least one-in-ten men aged 18 to 54 and women aged 35 to 54 continue to say no to being jabbed

About ARI

The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) was founded in October 2014 by pollster and sociologist, Dr. Angus Reid. ARI is a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation established to advance education by commissioning, conducting and disseminating to the public accessible and impartial statistical data, research and policy analysis on economics, political science, philanthropy, public administration, domestic and international affairs and other socio-economic issues of importance to Canada and its world.


Part One: Vaccination willingness surges again

Part Two: Few AstraZeneca regrets, but most unvaccinated don’t want it


Part One: Vaccination willingness surges again

Canada’s inoculation program against COVID-19 has expanded in recent weeks with the arrival of millions of new doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Indeed, more than 20 million doses of vaccine have been delivered to provinces and in the over the past seven days approximately 350 thousand doses per day were administered nationwide.

More than 44 per cent of Canadians and 54 per cent of those over the age of 15 have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The Angus Reid Institute sample contains a near identical number – 53 per cent of adults reporting that they have received at least one dose. This progress means Canada has now nearly caught up to the United States, whose per capita vaccination rate was more than triple Canada’s as of mid-March.

These data show a shift from a willingness to be vaccinated to the reality of the program’s results. In addition to the 53 per cent who say they have been vaccinated, 29 per cent would like to be as soon as possible, while six per cent say they’re interested in vaccination but would like to wait. The percentage of those unwilling to be vaccinated continues to hover at around ten per cent of the population, although it to is slowly decreasing.

Prime Minister Trudeau recently stated that Canada could have a much more normal summer, what he termed the “one-dose summer”, if 75 per cent of Canadians receive at least one dose; this would allow travel and group size restrictions to be loosened. Based on the opinions and intentions of Canadians, this target appears achievable in every region of the country. That said, 24 per cent of Saskatchewan residents and 17 per cent of Albertans are hesitant or in opposition to vaccination:

Nowhere has COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy diminished more than Alberta. In late January, nearly half of residents were unsure about the vaccine or unwilling to be vaccinated outright. That proportion has dropped by nearly two-thirds. In Saskatchewan, one-quarter continue to be hesitant or opposed to vaccination, while all other regions hover around the one-in-ten mark:

And while the number of Canadians on the sidelines or still unwilling to be vaccinated continues to decline steadily across age and gender demographics – middle aged men (35-54) and young women may represent the groups most in need of convincing:

Part Two: Few AstraZeneca regrets, but most unvaccinated don’t want it

Canada’s recent reception of millions of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines has caused the country to reduce its reliance on the AstraZeneca brand. In a continuation of what has been weeks of a roller coaster of news from the annals of “is-Astra-Zeneca-safe-or-isn’t-it” – leading to the Oxford University researcher who oversaw the vaccine’s development blasting Canada’s approach – many provinces announced last week they would no longer offer AZ for first doses. The vaccine has been linked to rare complications due to blood clotting. Canada has reported 28 such cases of serious side effects, including deaths.

But Canadians riding that roller coaster – those who have received an AstraZeneca dose – express little regret about the ride. Just eight per cent of these individuals say they regret being jabbed with AZ, while most say they are either totally happy (48%) or wish they could have had another brand but don’t regret their decision (44%):

This doesn’t, however, mean that many Canadians would prefer to receive AstraZeneca going forward. While the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines continue to be a source of extreme comfort for unvaccinated Canadians, just one-in-three say they would be comfortable receiving AZ:

Unvaccinated men who want to be vaccinated are much more likely than women who fit the same criteria to say that they would be comfortable receiving AstraZeneca. Two-in-five (42%) say they’re fine with this prospect, compared to just 28 per cent of women:

If it came down to it, a plurality of Canadians now say they would be unwilling to compromise if they were offered a vaccine with which they are not comfortable. Two-in-five (42%) would reject it and wait for their preferred brand, much more likely to be Pfizer or Moderna, while 35 per cent would take whatever they were offered:


The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from May 14- 16, 2021 among a representative randomized sample of 1,319 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 +/- 3 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.

For detailed results by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here.

To read the full report, including detailed tables and methodologyclick here.

To read the questionnaire, click here.

Image – Mufid Majnun/Unsplash


Shachi Kurl, President: 604.908.1693 @shachikurl

Dave Korzinski, Research Director: 250.899.0821

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