COVID-19: Seven-in-ten oppose sharing vaccines globally until vaccinations in Canada are complete

COVID-19: Seven-in-ten oppose sharing vaccines globally until vaccinations in Canada are complete

Vaccine hesitation remains highest in AB and SK, where one-in-five opposed to or unsure of inoculation

June 14, 2021 – Under pressure at the G-7 summit to reveal how much of Canada’s pledge to share 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine with developing countries would come in the form of cash versus real jabs, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed Sunday the Canadian government would donate 13 million doses of actual surplus shots to spur global immunization, while pledging funds to buy 87 million more.

 Now, new data from the Angus Reid Institute finds the emphasis on weighting the promise more heavily to future purchases than sharing existing stock, aligns broadly with this nation’s desire to put “Canada First” when it comes to vaccination priority.

Nearly three-quarters of Canadians (72%) are of the opinion that until all willing residents 12 years of age and older have received their jabs, the country should focus its efforts at home rather than abroad. Younger people, between the ages of 18 and 34, are slightly more inclined to say the time has come to pivot to sharing vaccine with the developing world, but just one-quarter say this.

On the domestic vaccination front, one-in-five residents in Alberta and Saskatchewan (18% in each) remain either unwilling to or unsure of receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. This has led Premier Jason Kenney to announce a $3 million lottery program to push Alberta across its vaccination target for reopening. Demand in the province has diminished considerably in recent weeks.

More Key Findings:

  • Just over half of Canadians (54%) have some level of concern about becoming sick with COVID-19. This is the lowest mark since last year in June. One-in-five (18%) remain ‘very concerned’.
  • 51 per cent say that the federal government has done a good job of securing COVID-19 doses. But politics deeply colours opinion: seven-in-ten past CPC voters disagree, while at least 62 per cent of all other federal party voters agree. 
  • When asked about the pace of second-dose distribution in their own provinces, half say it’s going as well as can be expected (49%), while the number saying it’s “taking too long” (27%) slightly edge those who say it’s “going at a great pace” (24%). People in Manitoba and Ontario are least satisfied with the rate of second dose rollout in their respective provinces.

 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: COVID-19 Fears continue to ebb

Part Two: Vaccination and hesitancy

  • 88% now vaccinated or willing

  • One-in-five holding out in Alberta, Saskatchewan

Part Three: Global Vaccine Sharing

  • Prioritize first or second doses?

  • Canada and COVAX: Canada First

Part Four: Government performance

  • Half say Ottawa has done well securing doses, but political divides drive opinion

  • Manitoba, Ontario more critical of provincial government


Part One: COVID-19 Fears continue to ebb

Canadians appear to be increasingly optimistic that the country has turned a corner in the fight against COVID-19. Recorded cases continue to fall across the country while the per capita rate of infections have recently fallen below that of the United States. This optimism is reflected in declining concern when Canadians are asked about becoming sick from COVID-19 themselves. Just over half (54%) now say this – the lowest number since June 2020.

While the overall number reporting that they were “very concerned” about contracting COVID-19 declined, concern among those aged 55 and over remains stable at one-in-five (22%):

Notably, and perhaps related to worries about variants of the coronavirus, a majority those who have been jabbed once reflect at least some fear of contracting COVID-19 anyway. Indeed, fully half (48%) of those who have been fully vaccinated also express concern:

Part Two: Vaccination and hesitancy

Having overcome extreme supply and distribution problems earlier this year that frustrated Canadians, the nation’s vaccination program now continues at an accelerated pace. More than 73 per cent of eligible Canadians over the age of 12 have received at least one shot. The Angus Reid Institute’s own data finds 80 per cent of respondents over the age of 18 having received at least one dose (fielding dates June 2 to 7).

88% now vaccinated or willing

Notably, the percentage of Canadians who are either unsure about getting a vaccine (3%), or who would prefer to wait (4%), has fallen to their lowest levels since the Angus Reid Institute first began asking the question of Canadians last summer. A persistent one-in-ten (9%) say they will not be vaccinated:

One-in-five hold out in Alberta, Saskatchewan

Hesitancy and or outright opposition toward vaccination continues to be highest in Alberta and Saskatchewan where the rate is close to double that of the rest of the country. This hesitancy and refusal has remained consistent over the past three months. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe had harsh words for residents unwilling to be vaccinated, telling them that they are not being asked to “storm the beaches of Normandy” but to simply be vaccinated to protect others.

Part Three: Global Vaccine Sharing

Prioritize first or second doses?

As of this past week, Canada now leads among all 37 OECD countries when it comes to first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine delivered. That said, its position drops to 31st when it comes to those having received their second dose. Governments are now being presented with the option of pushing to further increase first dose coverage among potentially more hesitant populations or to shift priority to second doses. Canadians want both.

Taken as a whole, most respondents want to see the priority equally placed on first and second doses (57%). One-quarter (26%) say their province should continue to push for first dose coverage, while 16 per cent are ready to prioritize second doses.

Those most likely to support a focus on first doses are those still waiting to receive one. As noted above, this is only four per cent of the population, but among them, two-in-five say that governments should not yet shift priority to second doses:

Priority varies when the sample is split by age. Younger people, aged 18 to 24 (40%) and aged 25 to 34 (32%), are more likely to want the focus on first doses to continue before prioritizing second ones. This group has been last in line as provinces have worked through their distribution plans:

More than three-in-ten residents in B.C., Quebec, and Atlantic Canada say that first doses should remain priority. Meanwhile, in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, where first doses have become a more difficult sell, at least one-in-five would shift focus to second dose delivery (see detailed tables)

Canada and COVAX: Canada First

Canada has been criticized over recent months after it was the only G7 nation to draw vaccines from the COVID-19 Global Access Fund – or COVAX – designed to help distribute vaccines more equally across the globe. The government announced its plans to begin to share vaccines after last weeks G7 summit in London but had been criticized for an unwillingness to share even as it had begun to vaccinate younger and younger populations domestically.

It would seem that most Canadians agree with the government’s strategy of stomping out COVID-19 completely at home before shifting its focus. Almost three-quarters (72%) of Canadians think that we should finish vaccinating everyone in Canada, 12 years and older – before shifting our efforts to helping other countries:

Politically, past New Democrats and Green voters who are most inclined to donate doses, but even in those cases, three-in-five would finish vaccinating all Canadians 12 and older first:

In addition to looking forward to less restrictions and increased mobility within the country, Canadians may soon be able to start planning summer vacations further afield. Beginning in early July, fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents returning from travel abroad will no longer be required to isolate in a hotel as part of their two-week quarantine.

This raises questions of how fast provincial governments will be able to roll out second doses. While nationally almost three quarters of Canadians say that things are going as good as can be expected or better, there are important regional divides. Notably, 40 per cent of those in Ontario and 35 per cent of those in Manitoba think that the roll out of the second dose is going too slowly.

Part Four: Government performance

Half say Ottawa has done well securing doses, but political divides drive opinion

Canada’s vaccine rollout was widely criticized as it was slow to start, but with over 70 per cent of the eligible population now having at least one dose of vaccine, Canadians opinion of federal government performance has changed. Half now say Canada has done a good job securing doses, a 20-point increase from two months ago:

The divide over this question is deeply political. Those who voted for the Conservative Party in the last federal election are the most likely (70%) to rate the government’s efforts poorly.

Confidence also continues to grow in the federal government’s ability to distribute the vaccines across the country. In April, only 45 per cent were confident, a number that’s increased to 60 per cent in June.

Again, political divisions drive opinion. Conservative voters are the most likely to continue to be critical of the federal government’s vaccination efforts. Nearly two-thirds (65%) say they aren’t confident in the Liberal government’s efforts to manage distribution. Majorities of all other part party voters say they have confidence in the current government on this measure (See detailed tables).

Manitoba, Ontario more critical of provincial government

Provinces are laying out their plans for reopening tied to vaccination rates of 60 to 75 per cent first doses, depending on the province. With an eye on summer, and eased restrictions, Canadians’ confidence in their provincial government’s vaccine distribution plans has spiked. Nearly seven-in-10 (69%) now say is doing a good job, and only one-in-four (26%) believe it is doing a bad job.

Provincially, Canadians aren’t united in that faith. Most Manitobans (50%) and Ontarians (52%) think their governments are doing a good job, but those are much lower than the other provinces.

These provincial trends have been favourable across the country throughout 2021. Every region in the country is far more positive than months ago about their provincial government’s distribution of vaccines:

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from June 2 – 7, 2021 among a representative randomized sample of 4,948 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. Detailed tables are found at the end of this release.

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

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

For full questionnaire, click here.

Image – Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street


Shachi Kurl, President: 604.908.1693 @shachikurl

Dave Korzinski, Research Director: 250.899.0821