Deficient delivery: Most view Canada’s vaccine rollout relative to other nations as a “failure”

Deficient delivery: Most view Canada’s vaccine rollout relative to other nations as a “failure”

Fewer than one-third believe everyone who wants a vaccine will receive one by September

February 12, 2021 – Be it prosperity, human rights, education or international aid, Canadians have been more often used to seeing their nation as a leader on the world stage.

As they watch allies such as the United States and the United Kingdom surge ahead in vaccine delivery and witness Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seek help securing doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from developing nations such as India, people in this country are experiencing the relatively unusual sensation of their country falling behind.

Amid delays and organizational frustrations, the latest public opinion study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds Canadians are more inclined to see the current situation as one of failure on the part of the government rather than due to travails largely out of its hands.

Three-in-five (59%) say that Canada should be performing better than or at least as well as well as other nations in the amount of vaccine it has administered. The rest (41%) offer more sympathy to those in charge of procurement and are of the view that recent setbacks have been out of anyone’s control.

Few Canadians now expect Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise – that anyone who wants a vaccine will get one by September – will come to fruition. Indeed, they express skepticism that this is an achievable target by a margin of more than three-to-one over those who say all jabs will have been given to those willing by the time autumn begins.


More Key Findings:

  • 57 per cent of Canadians now say the government has done a poor job of securing COVID-19 doses for the population. This represents a near tripling from the number who said the same thing in early December (23%).
  • Four-in-five Canadians voice a willingness to get vaccinated (81%), with 62 per cent saying they are ready to get their shot as soon as possible and one-in-five willing to after a wait (19%). These levels are unchanged since early January.
  • Three-in-five residents in B.C., Quebec and Atlantic Canada have confidence in their provincial governments to administer doses in a timely manner when received. This confidence is lowest in Alberta (42%) and Manitoba (35%)

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.



  • September timeline looks shaky to most

  • Who or what is to blame?

  • When do Canadians think they and others will be vaccinated?

  • Four-in-five will be vaccinated eventually

  • Deepening disappointment with procurement

  • Confidence in federal and provincial governments falters


September timeline looks shaky to most

Canada’s vaccination efforts started with a bang. The federal government announced that it had ordered more doses the COVID-19 vaccine than any other country on earth per capita – a fact that remains true. Delivery, however, has been another issue.

When the prime minister announced in December that every Canadian that wanted a vaccine would get one by September, Canadians were cautiously optimistic. Many had longed for a timeline to put an end to a seemingly endless progression of extensions for public safety and travel restrictions. Trudeau has since reiterated that statement several times, but the context surrounding it has changed. The delivery of both approved vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have been delayed due to production disruptions in Europe. That said, the federal government maintains that those companies’ obligations will be fulfilled, and three additional manufacturers are in the approval process with Health Canada.

For Canadians, the prospect of a September fulfillment for every person who wants to be vaccinated is an unlikely one. Just 28 per cent say that they are confident Canada will hit this target:

Who or what is to blame?

While Canadians may have been among the first to receive early doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, they have subsequently been left far behind by allies and neighbours in number of doses administered as a percentage of population. As of February 11, the United Kingdom had administered 20 doses per 100 people, while the American rate was approximately 13 doses per 100. Canada compares more favourably with France (3.5 doses per 100) and the Netherlands (2.7) on this scale, having given out 3.1 per 100.

Canadians are less inclined to say this progress, or lack thereof, is due to circumstances out of the government’s control than they are to blame the Liberals. Two-in-five (41%) say that there’s not much Canada could have done, while a majority (59%) point to a failure of planning:

These responses are heavily influenced by the political lens through which Canadians view the issue, but even those who backed the incumbent party in the 2019 election are notably critical. Fully two-in-five (41%) past Liberal voters say this is a failure on Canada’s part. Twice as many past Conservative voters say the same:

Other federal parties not shown due to small sample size

When do Canadians think they and others will be vaccinated?

Those who lack confidence in the government’s September timeline are most likely to lean toward the end of the year – or next spring – as the point in time when everyone in Canada who wants a vaccine will have received one:

Four-in-five will be vaccinated eventually

Amid these challenges, three-in-five Canadians (62%) would like to be vaccinated as soon as possible. Meantime, one-in-five (19%) would like to be eventually, but want to wait first. These data are largely unchanged over the past month, as seen in the trendline below:

Those who will seek inoculation were asked if they feel they personally will have had one by September.  Not even a majority of Canadians aged 65 and older – those currently placed by public health officials towards the front of the line – believe they themselves will be vaccinated by the end of summer.

Deepening disappointment with procurement

Deliveries are set to ramp up significantly in the coming weeks from both Pfizer and Moderna but questions remain over the vaccination schedule set out by the government. Regardless of who is to blame for the reduced number of doses, the Canadian public has become increasingly critical of the government’s procurement results. More than half (57%) now say that the government has done a poor job in securing vaccines, a near tripling of the number of people saying this since early December (23%):

Confidence in federal and provincial governments falters

Canadians’ confidence in the federal government to procure and deliver vaccines to the provinces has taken a hit over the past two months. In December, 58 per cent said they felt comfortable that the Liberals had things under control. That number has now dropped to 43 per cent, as half (52%) say they are not confident in the federal government to deliver at this point. These responses vary widely by region, with only British Columbia and Atlantic Canada continuing to offer majority levels of confidence:

*Small sample size, interpret with caution

As the provinces await delivery of more doses, the spotlight on their capacity to effectively distribute vaccine to individual communities has dimmed of late. In Ontario, as of February 11, more than 97 per cent of doses received have been administered. Confidence in provincial governments is generally higher than of the federal government, but again is subject to wide regional variance.

At least three-in-five residents in B.C., Quebec, and Atlantic Canada are confident in their provincial government to administer the vaccines in an orderly fashion once they are received. Confidence dips well below a majority in Manitoba (35%) and Alberta (42%):

*Small sample size, interpret with caution

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 – Daniel Schludi/Unsplash


Shachi Kurl, President: 1.604.908.1693 @shachikurl

Dave Korzinski, Research Director: 250.899.0821