Canadians Divided Over Making COVID-19 Vaccine Mandatory

May 6, 2020 Updated: May 6, 2020

The COVID-19 vaccine could prove to be a prickly public health debate, results from a poll conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies show.

The poll, conducted from April 24 to 26 and surveying 1,515 adult Canadians, found that while 60 percent of respondents believe people should be required to get the vaccine once it is ready, the other 40 percent think it should be voluntary.

“It’s almost as if it’s seen as just another flu vaccine,” Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque told The Canadian Press. “I myself would have expected a higher number given the severity, given the crisis we’re in. But Canadians are kind of divided on this.”

Older Canadians, who are most at risk of serious harm from COVID−19, were more likely to support a mandatory vaccine.

The poll also looked for the first time at what activities Canadians would feel comfortable doing once government restrictions are finally lifted, including returning to their offices, shopping, dining out, and attending concerts and sporting events.

Results largely fell on the side of activities where social distancing can be maintained. The majority of those surveyed (58 percent) felt they would be comfortable allowing in-home renovations by contractors, going to farmers’ markets (57 percent), and shopping at the mall (53 percent). Only 15 percent said they would not be comfortable returning to their own workplaces.

Yet only 45 percent said they would be comfortable eating in a restaurant while 24 percent would feel comfortable going to the gym, 23 percent flying on an airplane, and 21 percent attending a large gathering such as a concert or sports event.

“The ones that are at the top, these are activities where people feel they can manage some form of social distancing,” Bourque said.

By Carol Scott