COVID-19: Half want boosters ASAP, but two-in-five among vaccinated say they’re not sold on another shot

COVID-19: Half want boosters ASAP, but two-in-five among vaccinated say they’re not sold on another shot

One-in-five vaccinated Canadians say they don’t believe the shot is effective at preventing serious illness

July 18, 2022 – An emerging seventh wave of the COVID-19 virus – spurred forth by the BA.5 variant of Omicron – has health officials proclaiming the need for up-to-date vaccination among Canadians.

A new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds a population once boisterous about boosters now more hesitant. Three-in-five vaccinated Canadians (61%) say they’re ready and willing to get their next shot when eligible, led by men and women over the age of 54 (73% and 81% respectively).

There is, however, an emerging schism among those willing to continue receiving a COVID-19 inoculation. For those who have already had three or four shots, willingness to keep boosting remains high.

That said, among Canadians who say they have thus far received one or two doses just 17 per cent say they will seek another vaccine dose, while three-in-five say no.

Those who are keen would like their government to speed up the timeline for boosters. Overall, 54 per cent of Canadians say their province should offer a fourth dose to all adults who want one as soon as possible, while one-in-five (18%) would wait until the fall.

Not everyone, however, is convinced that boosters are necessary or even effective. One-in-five (22%) Canadians now say they do not believe that keeping up with vaccinations gives a person protection against either infection or serious illness. Few of those who have received three (7%) or four doses (2%) agree. Vaccine producer Pfizer addressed concerns about this recently, stating that its vaccine has been tweaked to better target the Omicron strain, and that its fall boosters will increase effectiveness. Other major producers are expected to do the same.

More Key Findings:

  • Seven-in-ten (71%) women over the age of 54 say provinces should roll out fourth doses as soon as possible – the highest number among age and gender combinations. Meanwhile, 36 per cent of all men under the age of 55 say fourth doses are unnecessary entirely.
  • Albertans are least willing to get a booster dose – 31 per cent say this. Those in B.C. and Atlantic Canada residents are most keen – both at a level of two-thirds.
  • Three-in-five (62%) Canadians say they would be willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine once a year for as long as necessary, assuming it was recommended by doctors and public health officials.


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.



  • Half push for another booster dose ASAP

  • Men younger than 55 most hesitant to boost

  • Three-in-five would boost once a year if needed

  • Skepticism over effectiveness?


Half push for another booster dose ASAP

The seventh wave of COVID-19 has arrived in Canada, according to public health officials in the country’s two largest provinces. Ontario’s chief medical officer declared the start of a seventh wave of the virus in the province on July 6, while Quebec’s top doctor followed suit the day after. New infections are driven by the Omicron subvariant BA.5, which can evade immunity provided by previous infection.

This week, the government of Ontario responded to the rise of infections by expanding the eligibility for a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine – or a second booster – to all adults over the age of 18 who had their third shot at least five months ago. Previously, fourth doses in the province were restricted to those over the age of 60 and First Nations, Metis and Inuit people over the age of 18.

Fourth dose eligibility varies across the country, with some provinces – Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia – still limiting it to older and at-risk adults. Eligibility is expanded in British Columbia, Quebec, New Brunswick and P.E.I. In B.C., the province is advising younger adults to wait until the fall, while in Quebec, the government is prioritizing older and at-risk adults.

More than half (54%) of Canadians believe health officials should open eligibility for another booster to all adults as soon as possible, while one-in-five (18%) believe there’s no immediate urgency and booster doses can wait until the fall. One-quarter (25%) believe there’s no need to expand booster eligibility at all.

In Ontario, three-in-five (61%) support the government’s move this week to allow all adults to get a fourth dose. Those in Alberta are the most likely to believe the expansion of eligibility to be unnecessary at two-in-five (38%):

According to the latest data from Health Canada – last updated in June – 59 per cent of Canadian adults have received at least one booster shot. However, booster uptake varies significantly by age. More than three-quarters of those over the age of 59 have received at least three doses, while that number falls to one-third of those aged 18- to 29-years-old.

Indeed, there is much less urgency among younger Canadians for the expansion of booster dose eligibility. One-third (36%) of men under the age of 55 believe there’s no need to expand eligibility at all, the most of any demographic. Three-in-ten women aged 35- to 54-years-old and one-quarter of 18- to 34-year-old women agree. Meanwhile, seven-in-ten (71%) of women over the age of 54, and three-in-five men that age, believe additional doses of vaccine should be available for all adults as soon as possible:

Men younger than 55 most hesitant to boost

As soon as they are eligible, a majority (61%) of vaccinated Canadians would get another shot. One-in-five (20%) would not, while another one-in-five (19%) are on the fence.

Women are much more likely than men to say they will pull their sleeve up for another jab when they’re eligible. Men under the age of 55 are much more likely to pass on the opportunity for another dose of COVID-19 vaccine:

Across the country, booster shot uptake has varied significantly. The government of Canada reports that nearly three-in-five (57%) in Newfoundland and Labrador have had at least three doses, leading the country. Uptake is lower in Alberta (38%) and Nunavut (38%).

Indeed, vaccinated Albertans are the least likely to say they will get a booster when they are eligible at three-in-ten (31%), while those in British Columbia (66%) and Atlantic Canada (67%) are much more likely to want another jab:

For those who have queued up already for four doses, nearly all (93%) say they will get a fifth if they can. Two-thirds (67%) of those who have received three jabs say they would get a fourth, but one-in-five (22%) aren’t sure and one-in-ten (11%) will not. There is much less desire for boosters among those who have received one or two doses:

Three-in-five would boost once a year if needed

As provinces ponder whether or not to expand booster eligibility, vaccine manufacturers are currently developing a fall booster designed more specifically to thwart the Omicron variants of COVID-19. As the virus continues to evolve, some experts believe a yearly booster may be necessary. Earlier this year, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said he believed annual inoculations were a better path than boosters every four or five months.

There is significant appetite among Canadians for annual boosters to fight COVID-19, as long as it is recommended by public health officials. Three-in-five (62%) would get a booster annually, while three-in-ten would not.

Older Canadians are much more willing to get annual inoculations against COVID-19 than younger ones. However, men under the age of 55 are much more divided on the matter than women that age:

There is much less appetite for an annual regime of COVID-19 boosters in the Prairies, and specifically Alberta, than other parts of the country. Two-in-five (43%) in Alberta would not be willing to get an annual booster. In Atlantic Canada, seven-in-ten (69%) say they will keep getting COVID-19 vaccines each year as long as it is recommended:

While most of those who have received three doses of COVID-19 will continue to line up for annual shots if they are recommended, 15 per cent say they are not willing to boost their immunity annually. For those who have received two or less shots, a majority are not on board with perpetual vaccines:

Skepticism over effectiveness?

The Omicron wave of early 2022 infected nearly 30 per cent of Canadian adults, including many who had been vaccinated. Still, despite the widespread breakthrough infections, vaccines have proven to provide protection against severe illness and hospitalization from Omicron.

Related: Angus Reid, U of T study shows Omicron triples Canada’s COVID-19 infection count

However, there is a significant minority (22%) of Canadians who believe keeping up with vaccinations is not effective at protecting them from infection, serious illness or death. That proportion is higher among men under the age of 55 (18-34, 28%; 35-54, 31%), and lowest among women over the age of 54 (12%).

Overall, Canadians are more convinced the vaccine protects them against serious illness than infection:

One-third of Albertans (36%) believe vaccines are ineffective at protecting them against COVID-19, more than twice the number of Atlantic Canadians (15%) who say the same. Instead, in the Maritimes, half (51%) believe keeping up with vaccinations protects them from infection and three-quarters (73%) believe it keeps them safe from serious illness or death:

For those who have been vaccinated but have not received any boosters, approaching half (45%) believe vaccination does not protect them from infection or serious illness. Meanwhile, three-quarters of those who have received one (77%) or two (76%) boosters believe the vaccine is effective at preventing serious illness, and majorities of both groups believe it protects against infection as well:

Among those who say they will get a booster shot when they are next eligible, two-thirds (64%) believe keeping up with vaccinations is effective against preventing infection, while more (81%) believe it is effective against serious illness or death. Conversely, those who say they won’t get another booster vaccination, two-thirds (65%) believe keeping up with vaccinations offers them no protection against infection or serious illness:

Survey Methodology:

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from July 13-15 2022 among a representative randomized sample of 1,583 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.

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

For detailed results by vaccination status, click here.

For detailed results by whether or not respondents would get another booster, click here.

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

Read the questionnaire in English and French.

Images – Braňo/Unsplash


Shachi Kurl, President: 604.908.1693 @shachikurl

Dave Korzinski, Research Director: 250.899.0821


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