Logo StatCan COVID-19: Data to Insights for a Better Canadians’ willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available: What role does trust play?

by Kristyn Frank and Rubab Arim

The development of a COVID-19 vaccine has been identified as an important factor in reopening the economy and relaxing physical distancing measures imposed as a response to the pandemic (Dourado 2020; Stock 2020). A recent poll indicated that 40% of Canadians are not supportive of mandatory vaccination (Leger and ACS 2020), therefore, Canadians’ willingness to voluntarily get vaccinated is vital to easing current economic and social constraints.

The degree to which individuals have trust in policy makers and public health authorities has been associated with their willingness to engage in public health measures such as vaccinations (Dubé et al. 2013; Greenberg, Dubé and Driedger 2017). This study examines how crowdsourcing participants’ willingness to receive a COVID-19 vaccination when one becomes available differs by their level of trust in other people, government and public health authorities. Results from this study cannot be inferred to the overall Canadian population.Note 

Over two-thirds of crowdsourcing participants are very likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available

The majority of crowdsourcing participants indicated a willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. Over two-thirds of crowdsourcing participants (68.2%) reported that they were very likely to voluntarily get vaccinated (Chart 1). Just over 1 in 10 participants indicated that they were somewhat unlikely (4.1%) or very unlikely (7.9%) to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Chart 1 How likely is it that participants will choose to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available?

Data table for Chart 1 
Data table for Chart 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 1. The information is grouped by Crowdsourcing participants' likelihood (appearing as row headers), percent (appearing as column headers).
Crowdsourcing participants' likelihood Percent
Very likely 68.2
Somewhat likely 15.2
Somewhat unlikely 4.1
Very unlikely 7.9
Don't know 4.6

Trust in others played a role in crowdsourcing participants’ willingness to voluntarily get a COVID-19 vaccine (Chart 2). About 7 in 10 participants who indicated that most people can be trusted were very likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available, compared to 6 in 10 participants who indicated that most people cannot be trusted (70.7% and 60.6%, respectively).

Chart 2 Participants’ willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine, by general trust in other people

Data table for Chart 2 
Data table for Chart 2
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 2. The information is grouped by Generally speaking, would you say that... (appearing as row headers), Total and Very likely to choose to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Generally speaking, would you say that... Total Very likely to choose to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available
percent
Most people can be trusted 75.7 70.7
Most people can't be trusted 24.3 60.6

Willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine differed between crowdsourcing participants with high and low levels of trust in government and public health authorities

Crowdsourcing participants’ willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine differed markedly between participants with high and low levels of trust in government and public health authorities, particularly at the federal level (Table 1).

Over three-quarters of crowdsourcing participants who had a high level of trust in federal government indicated that they were very likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available (77.3%), compared to more than half of participants who had a low level of trust in federal government (53.8%). Similarly, while 76.4% of participants who had a high level of trust in federal public health authorities were very likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine, fewer than half of participants (44.4%) with a low level of trust in federal public health authorities indicated that they were very likely to get vaccinated.Note 

Smaller differences were observed at the provincial, territorial and municipal levels (Table 1). For example, nearly three-quarters (73.6%) of crowdsourcing participants who had a high level of trust in provincial or territorial public health authorities indicated that they were very likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine, compared to just over half of participants with low trust in provincial or territorial public health authorities (52.8%).


Table 1
Participants’ willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine, by trust in government and public health authorities
Table summary
This table displays the results of Support for voluntary vaccination. The information is grouped by Trust in government to make good decisions about when and how to reopen workplaces and public spaces (appearing as row headers), Total and Very likely to choose to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Trust in government to make good decisions about when and how to reopen workplaces and public spaces Total Very likely to choose to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available
Low trust High trust Low trust High trust
percent percent
Federal government 38.5 61.5 53.8 77.3
Federal public health authorities 25.6 74.4 44.4 76.4
Provincial or territorial government 44.2 55.8 64.8 71.0
Provincial or territorial public health authorities 25.7 74.3 52.8 73.6
Municipal government 45.3 54.7 61.3 74.0
Municipal health authorities 34.9 65.1 56.1 74.7

Methodology

Results for this study were drawn from Statistics Canada’s crowdsourcing data collection series The Impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians: Trust in Others. From May 26 and June 8, 2020, over 36,000 participants voluntarily completed this online questionnaire which focused on the level of trust Canadians have in government, in businesses, and in others, and their views regarding the reopening of workplaces and public spaces. Readers should note that crowdsourcing data are not collected under a sample design using probability-based sampling. As a result, the findings cannot be applied to the overall Canadian population. Please refer to Schellenberg and Fonberg (2020) for additional results from this data collection initiative.

References

Dourado, E. 2020. Accelerating availability of vaccine candidates for COVID-19. Mercatus Center Research Paper Series. Arlington, VA: George Mason University.

Dubé, E., C. Laberge, M. Guay, P. Bramadat, R. Roy and J. A. Bettinger. 2013. “Vaccine hesitancy: an overview”. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 9:8, pp.1763-1773. DOI: 10.4161/hv.24657.

Greenberg J, Dubé E, and Driedger M. 2017. “Vaccine Hesitancy: In Search of the Risk Communication Comfort Zone.” PLOS Currents, 9. DOI:10.1371/currents.outbreaks.0561a011117a1d1f9596e24949e8690b.

Leger and Association for Canadian Studies (ACS). 2020. Concerns about COVID-19. April 28. Accessed June 10, 2020. https://leger360.com/surveys/concerns-about-covid-19-april-28-2020/.

Schellenberg, G. and J. Fonberg. 2020. “Crowdsourcing participants’ trust in government, public health authorities, businesses, and others during the COVID-19 pandemic”. The Daily, June 26, 2020. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 11-001-X. Ottawa. Statistics Canada.  https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200626/dq200626b-eng.htm.

Stock, J.A. Reopening the Coronavirus-Closed Economy. Hutchins Center Working Paper #60. Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy. Brookings Institution. Accessed June 15, 2020. https://www.brookings.edu/research/reopeningthe-coronavirus-closed-economy.

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