Only 23 Percent of Canadian Parents Say They Will Decline COVID Vaccines for Kids Aged 5 to 11

By Neil Campbell | October 20, 2021
Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
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Canadian Parents COVID Vaccine Kids 5 to 11 Poll
Children splash through a waterfall at a park in Washington, D.C., on June 28, 2021. In a new Angus Reid Institute poll, only 23 percent of Canadian parents say they will spare their children aged 5 to 11 from the COVID-19 vaccines. (Image: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

A mere 23 percent of Canadian parents say they will spare their children from the novel gene therapy Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccinations once Health Canada approves the injections, according to a new survey. Data also showed meaningful differences of opinion based on income, education level, political orientation, and vaccination status. 

The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) conducted an online survey in late September and early October, querying more than 5,000 adults who are members of the Institute’s forum.

ARI describes itself as a “a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation” and says the study was self-funded and self-initiated. 

The main question asked of respondents was “If COVID-19 vaccine becomes available to your child(ren) aged five to 11, will you get them vaccinated or not?” Takers with children in this age group formed a cohort of 812 people. 

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The results were overwhelmingly in favor: 51 percent said they would get their child vaccinated “as soon as one became available to them,” 18 percent said they would “wait a while first,” 9 percent said they were “not sure,” and only 23 percent said “No, I will not get a vaccine for my child(ren).”

Broken down by Province, 29 percent of Albertans and 30 percent of Quebec’s respondents answered in the negative compared to only 15 percent in British Columbia and 18 percent in Ontario

The study also found a discrepancy from the national average when parsing the data based on income and education level. The lowest percentage of people who responded in the negative were those making more than $100,000 per year at only 19 percent, compared to 24 and 28 percent in the less than $50,000 and $50,000 to $99,000 wage brackets respectively.

By education level, only 15 percent of respondents with university or greater education said they would not vaccinate their young, compared to 26 and 25 percent of the high school or less and college or technical school brackets respectively. 

Canada wants boosters

The study also asked respondents if they would accept a third dose booster injection once they become available. This portion was limited to those who had already accepted at least one injection, forming a cohort of 4,527 individuals. 

An overwhelming 62 percent said they would take one as soon as possible and 20 percent said they would “wait a while first.”

Only 9 percent said they weren’t interested, and only 8 percent said they were not sure.

Broken down by age, the 18 to 24 demographic checked in at a 15 percent rejection rate, followed closely by 13 percent in the 35 to 44 bracket. Rejection was the lowest in the senior population at 7 percent in those aged 55 to 64 and only 4 percent for 65+. 

The ARI’s data also appeared to show a political correlation to opinions. Those who identified as previous voters for Canada’s two socialist parties, the ruling Liberal Party and the New Democrat Party, rejected boosters at only a 2 and 3 percent rate respectively

By comparison, voters of the Conservative Party and the separatist Bloc Quebecois had rejection rates as high as 15 and 10 percent respectively.

Cautious optimism

In the third portion of the questionnaire, all 5,011 respondents were asked, “Based on whatever you’ve read, seen or heard, when do you anticipate things will be ‘back to normal’ in Canada?”

While 37 percent agreed with the statement “Won’t ever go back to the way it was,” the majority was overall more optimistic. 30 percent expected normalcy to return “later than the end of 2022,” while 28 percent expected a return to normal to arrive as early as 6 to 12 months in the future.

Data showed the percentage of respondents who felt a return to normal would never come had almost doubled over the last year. Data recorded in December of 2020 showed only 20 percent of respondents agreeing with the statement, which increased to 29 percent in April. 

A final question asked respondents “How concerned are you personally about becoming sick from the coronavirus?” Data was parsed based on vaccination status, with 4,527 vaccinated respondents against 408 unvaccinated.

The results showed a sharp contrast. In the vaccinated crowd, 18 percent rated their concern as “very” and 42 percent as “moderate.” The unvaccinated was almost totally reversed with only 4 percent very concerned and 13 percent moderately concerned.