by David Korzinski | July 20, 2021 9:00 pm
July 20, 2021 – As Canada slips past the U.S., surpassing its southern neighbour on the overall rate of both first and second vaccination, new data from the Angus Reid Institute casts light on some of the new social dynamics likely to affect day to day interactions as this country begins to emerge into a new reality.
Among those who have received at least one dose of vaccine so far only half (53%) say they’re likely to spend time around those who have not received their jabs. This, even after they are fully immunized themselves and have built up their immunity.
Then there are the mixed comfort levels around asking others about their relative vaccination status.
More than half of those who have received at least one dose of vaccine say it’s perfectly fine to ask someone about their vaccination status. Another three-in-ten say it depends, and are more comfortable asking family and friends, but less so strangers. Conversely, three-quarters of those who say they’ll eschew inoculation view being asked about one’s vaccination status as inappropriate.
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.
Four-in-five of eligible Canadians have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and nearing 60 per cent are fully vaccinated. On Monday, the Trudeau government announced it will begin to allow fully vaccinated travellers from the United States to enter the country as of Aug. 9. This, despite Public Safety Minister Bill Blair saying in June that the border would not be opened until 75 per cent of Canadians had received two doses, a level a plurality of Canadians themselves felt should be higher.
Related: Majority say at least 75% should be vaccinated before Canada-U.S. border re-opens
Some suggest that Canada may need to reach as high as 90 per cent inoculation in order to put an end to COVID-19 and reduce the risk posed by variants. That achievement appears within reach, however. Currently, 86 per cent of Canadians have either been vaccinated already with at least one dose, or plan to as soon as possible. Another three per cent say that they will receive a jab eventually, while fewer than 10 per cent nationally say they’ll refuse vaccination outright:
Hesitancy appears to be a more significant problem regionally, jumping to 22 per cent of the population Alberta, and 15 per cent each in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. That said, hesitancy in both Alberta and Saskatchewan has declined significantly since the beginning of the year:
The vaccination experience – including experiencing side effects – is something that millions of Canadians now share. Fully 85 per cent of Canadians say they experienced some form of post-jab malaise, though the most common has been some soreness around the injection site. A lucky 15 per cent felt nothing at all:
Health officials warned Canadians to expect more of a reaction from their second dose of the vaccine, as the body increases its immune response. This phenomenon is clear when comparing the overall experiences of those who have had both doses and those who have had one. The incidence of every side effect listed is higher among those who have received both:
Those who have had both doses were asked to assess the side effects they felt from each. The number who say they had a mild reaction dropped from 71 per cent for the first shot to 51 per cent for the second, while the percentage saying they felt a severe reaction doubled from eight to 15 per cent:
Canadians had a love-hate relationship with one particular brand of COVID-19 vaccine – AstraZeneca. The AstraZeneca vaccine provided important coverage for Canadians early in the vaccination effort but has been phased out due to the better performance of alternatives and the slightly higher risk of potential health complications from AZ.
This has meant that in some cases, those who received AZ for their first dose were or are being offered a different brand for their second dose. Public health officials have reported this strategy as safe and effective, and few Canadians who have mixed say that they were uncomfortable doing so. One-quarter of those sampled in this survey say they received a different dose the second time, and the overwhelming majority say it caused them little stress:
Vaccination has had a seismic impact on the pandemic in wealthy Western countries, which has led many to begin to discuss what a new normal will look like in their communities. One aspect of this is how those who have been vaccinated will interact with those who have not.
The Angus Reid Institute asked vaccinated Canadians (at least one dose) whether they will be likely to spend time with unvaccinated individuals over the coming months, after they have been fully vaccinated and have had time to build their immunity. Nearly half (46%) say that this is unlikely. Older Canadians are even more likely to say they will be extremely careful about who they see as they build up their comfort levels in a post-pandemic Canada:
A considerable portion of residents in every region feel this way. At least 39 per cent of the population in every region canvassed say that they will be unlikely to hang out with unvaccinated people:
But how comfortable are Canadians asking others about their vaccination status? There are a number of different factors in this discussion, but most prominent is whether or not someone has been vaccinated. More than half of those who have received at least one dose say this question is fair game, while 32 per cent say it depends on who it is they’re asking. Those who have not been vaccinated and are unwilling or unsure say this is a personal question and is out of bounds:
Age and gender are less of a factor in disagreement on this question (see detailed tables), but politics plays a role. Past Conservative supporters are much more likely than other party supporters to say they shouldn’t be asked about their vaccination status, while past Liberal voters are least likely:
The biggest point of tension regarding the propriety of the question appears to be talking to strangers. Most are fairly or completely comfortable having conversations about vaccination status with their friends or family, but only 41 per cent say this of strangers:
That said, those whose health has been most at risk over the past year and a half – Canadians over the age of 64 – are most likely to say they will be comfortable asking people they don’t know about vaccination if they have to. Half (52%) say this, compared to fewer than two-in-five in age groups younger than 55 years old:
The pandemic is by no means over, particularly in less wealthy parts of the world with low vaccination rates, where the Delta variant continues to cause devastation. In Canada however, while many respondents are excited about moving past the pandemic, anxiety remains. More than one-quarter (28%) say that they are still more anxious than excited about getting back to normal and seeing friends, family, and others out in their communities:
Anxiety rises across age groups, which again draws attention to the relative levels of concern that older Canadians have carried since the pandemic started:
While most Canadians are feeling more excitement than anxiety, those who are unvaccinated and uncommitted to being so are most enthusiastic about getting back to the activities they have missed out on over the past 18 months.
The same trend is noted for Canadians when it comes to the caution with which they are approaching post-pandemic activities. Just 35 per cent say they are resuming everything they did before, with no real hesitation. For the bulk of the population, caution is key:
Men younger than 55 are most bullish about their return to pre-pandemic activities. Meantime, women older than 34 are most hesitant:
Premiers Jason Kenney and Doug Ford recently voiced their opposition to vaccine passports in their provinces. These are documents that would certify that a person is vaccinated in order to attend certain events, travel, or take part in other activities in their communities. Despite opposition from Ford, Ontario residents are widely supportive of using vaccine passports in public spaces. A majority of Albertans are supportive of this type of policy for air travel, but less so for domestic application:
The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from July 9-13, 2021, among a representative randomized sample of 2,040 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.
For detailed results by vaccination status, click here.
To read the full report, including detailed tables and methodology, click here.
For the full questionnaire, click here.
Image – Zou Zheng/Xinhua via Newscom
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