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Majority of Canadians intend to get the COVID-19 vaccine, September 2020

Released: 2020-12-17

In September, Statistics Canada, as part of the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), asked Canadians what steps they have taken to safeguard their own health as well as the health of others. The vast majority of Canadians (97%) reported that they wore a mask in public when physical distancing was difficult and three-quarters said they would get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.

This release provides a snapshot of the measures Canadians have already taken and may take in the future.

Vast majority of Canadians report wearing a mask in public places

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) recommended that Canadians wear a face mask in public places starting in late May 2020. Soon after the recommendation was made, Statistics Canada found that around two-thirds (65%) of Canadians reported wearing a mask in public spaces. By September, this had increased significantly to 97% of Canadians aged 12 and older wearing a mask in public places to protect themselves and others against COVID-19.

Three out of four Canadians report that they are willing to get the COVID-19 vaccine

With recent reports of an effective vaccine against COVID-19 getting approval, public health officials at various levels are planning for the vaccine roll-out. In September, three-quarters (76%) of Canadians aged 12 and older, or approximately 23 million people, indicated that they would be somewhat or very likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Women and men were equally likely to report that they would be somewhat or very likely to get the vaccine.

Willingness of Canadians to get a COVID-19 vaccine varied by province. Residents of Prince Edward Island (89%), Nova Scotia (82%) and British Columbia (82%) were more likely than the national average to get the vaccine, while residents of Alberta (70%) were less likely to do so.

Older Canadians are more likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Public health officials have deemed those aged 65 and older to be at a greater risk of serious outcomes if they contract COVID-19. This message seems to have resonated with seniors, as more Canadians aged 65 and older (80%) reported that they were somewhat likely or very likely to get the vaccine, compared with just under three-quarters of those aged 12 to 64 (74%).

Those with chronic health conditions are also at a greater risk of serious outcomes from COVID-19. In November, Statistics Canada reported that the vast majority (90%) of COVID-involved deaths from March to July 2020 had at least one other cause, condition or complication reported on the death certificate. Among the 10.6 million Canadians living with an underlying health condition (36% of all Canadians), the proportion who intended to get the COVID-19 vaccine (77%) was similar to those not living with a chronic condition (76%). Similarly, no statistically significant differences were seen by age group when comparing the willingness of those with health conditions and those without. From a public health perspective, this is notable because there is clear evidence that those with chronic conditions are more likely to develop complications that may lead to hospitalization and even death if they contract COVID-19.

Canadians with post-secondary education are more likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Canadians aged 25 and older with higher levels of educational attainment were also more likely to report a willingness to get vaccinated, with over three-quarters (78%) of those with post-secondary education somewhat or very likely to get vaccinated. This rate falls to 70% among those with a high school diploma and to 65% for those with less than a high school diploma.

  Note to readers

This release features analysis based on data from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) in September 2020. As this analysis is based on monthly data, the sample size for these estimates is smaller and atypical for a CCHS release. The CCHS is a population health survey that provides insight into the health conditions and behaviours of the Canadian population.

For additional CCHS data on COVID-19 related indicators by region, province, age group and gender, a table is available: 13-10-0806-01. In January 2021, the October 2020 estimates will be added to this table and a visualization product will be made available. Another table combining the CCHS September-October 2020 data to look at certain sub-populations will also be released.

For more information on the June estimates for COVID-19 precautions see: Precautions that Canadians will take or continue to take as COVID-19 safety measures are relaxed.

For more information on COVID-19 deaths see: COVID-19 death comorbidities in Canada.

For more information on the Public Health Agency of Canada's key populations for COVID-19 immunization see: Preliminary guidance on key populations for early COVID-19 immunization.

Underlying health conditions include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obesity, high blood pressure, currently having cancer, heart disease, diabetes, suffering from the effects of a stroke, or dementia.

In this release, when two estimates are said to be different, this indicates that the difference was statistically significant at a 95% confidence level (p-value less than 5%).

Estimates in this release referring to the national average or Canada rate exclude the territories.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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