Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during his daily news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic outside his residence at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, on Saturday, April 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Should a vaccine for COVID-19 be made mandatory in Canada, once it’s created?

Roughly 60 per cent of Canadians think so, according to the latest Leger poll

The world could be months to years away from developing a vaccine against COVID-19, but the novel coronavirus’s disruption of daily life has some Canadians hoping that immunizations will be made mandatory.

According to results from an online Leger poll released on Tuesday (April 28), 60 per cent of 1,515 Canadian respondents said they think a vaccine should be mandatory once one is created, tested and approved. The remaining 40 per cent said it should be voluntary.

Broken down by province, support for a mandatory vaccine was a view shared highest in Atlantic Canada, at 63 per cent, followed by 62 per cent in Ontario. The poll found 52 per cent of respondents from Manitoba and Saskatchewan support a mandatory vaccines, the lowest across all provinces.

B.C. respondents were split 60 per cent for mandatory vaccination, 40 per cent for it to be voluntary.

Meanwhile, the 1,016 respondents from the United Stats were split 50-50 on the issue.

READ MORE: 70% of Canadians agree with mandatory measles vaccine for children: poll

READ MORE: Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

While the online poll could not include a margin of error, meaning it cannot be entirely exact, it is the first to shed light on what could become a contentious public health debate once a vaccine is ready.

COVID-19 has done its share of damage in Canada in recent months, forcing thousands out of work, sparking bans and restrictions on public outings and a temporary closure of the country’s borders.

At least 48,000 Canadians have contracted the contagious respiratory illness. Roughly 2,700 people, most of those seniors, have died due to or related to the virus.

Vaccines are not mandatory in Canada.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it is too soon to speak on whether any immunizations would be required.

“We still have a fair bit of time to reflect on that in order to get it right,” Trudeau said, adding that there may be treatments that help manage the spread of the novel coronavirus as countries look for a vaccine, similar to the current response to HIV/AIDS as researches have gone years hunting for a vaccine to no avail.

“There are obviously going to be extremely important decisions around how to best get to that level of vaccination that will prevent further spread of COVID-19,” Trudeau said.

“There’s a lot of studies done on that over the past years in terms of what threshold of the population needs to vaccinated in order to prevent any spread of a disease and that research will obviously inform decisions we take around the COVID-19 vaccine when it comes.”

The federal government has provided $275 million in funding for vaccine and antiviral development and clinical trials globally, including $27 million across 47 teams of scientists researching the novel coronavirus.

In B.C., this isn’t the first time in recent years that policy on vaccinations has become the talking point of an infectious disease. In 2019, the province launched a mandatory immunization program across schools to stamp out a resurgence of the contagious measles disease.

Health Minister Adrian Dix launched the province-wide program and a target of immunizing 95 per cent of residents, with the exception being exemptions for medical or “philosophical reasons,” he said at the time.

In September 2019, as school returned, the province also implemented a mandatory vaccine record check.

A poll by Angus Reid Institute conducted that year suggested that that 70 per cent of Canadians believed in mandatory vaccinations in children. Roughly 24 per cent said it should be the parent’s choice, while seven per cent were undecided on the issue.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said earlier this month that there likely won’t be a mass vaccination process.

“We do have plans across the province for mass vaccination clinics,” she said. “I would not see us having mandatory immunization for this.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Charges laid in 2019 single-vehicle crash in Surrey that killed young soccer star

Dilpreet Sandhu, 19, faces eight charges in early morning crash that killed Brandon Bassi

Surrey pushing the poor out of Whalley, public hearing speakers say

‘There is a war on the poor here in Surrey,’ resident Dave Diewert tells city council

IHIT investigating death of Surrey woman

Injured woman was taken to SMH early Tuesday morning

Surrey seniors call Seniors’ Centre Without Walls, a new-to-B.C. program

‘Crazy coincidence’ saw program connect soon after COVID-19 pandemic hit

Surrey Mounties seize guns, drugs and cash from Guildford residence

One man was arrested but no charges have been laid as investigation continues

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

COVID claims 23rd Langley Lodge patient, making it the deadliest outbreak in B.C.

Coronavirus kills another senior at Langley care home, bringing B.C. total to 166

Family of dead B.C. football star urge changes to mental health policies in hospitals

Uko family disappointed in actions of Regina hospital, hosting public funeral service this weekend

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Importance of accurate, ethical reporting more critical than ever

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Maple Ridge woman fights WorkSafe BC over police widow’s pension

Dalila Vroom says husband, Const. Rob Vroom, died as a result of PTSD from time with Abbotsford PD

Most Read