One Year Later: Canadian concerns about COVID-19 and views on vaccines

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March 12, 2021 – Our latest sounding on Canadians’ views and feelings about the pandemic reveals that slim majorities of the public continue to approve of the Trudeau Liberal Government’s overall governance of the country and response to COVID-19. Most notably, there is a significant increase in the number of Canadians who intend to get vaccinated against the coronavirus as soon as the vaccine is available to them, accompanied by a related decrease in the number of Canadians who express hesitancy or opposition about it.

When considering specific actions by the Trudeau Government regarding the pandemic, six-in-ten Canadians approve of the Liberals’ job performance on communicating and informing the public about matters related to the outbreak, and about half approve of the Government’s job performance on managing and controlling the spread of new COVID-19 variants.

Concerns about COVID-19 spread and risks remain at the same levels seen in Dec 2020, and have abated only slightly since March 2020. Two-thirds of Canadians are still concerned about catching the virus themselves, and remain more worried about family members, friends, and other Canadians outside of their social circle catching it.

  • One year after the onset of the pandemic, a large majority of Canadians (86%;-7) remain concerned about the pandemic’s impact on the economy. Concerns about the impact on students’ education are still high (68%) – slightly lower than Dec 2020 (-4), but higher than at the beginning of the pandemic (+6).
  • Although just over half (52%) of Canadians are concerned about the pandemic’s impact on their personal finances, this represents a notable 8-point decrease in concern since December 2020 and 20-point decrease since March 2020. This improved sentiment regarding personal finances aligns with the findings of our recent studies on the middle class and 2021 economic expectations – wherein we found that many Canadians were reporting higher savings rates and greater financial stability due to pandemic-related reductions in consumer spending and unprecedented income support from the federal government.

Compared to December 2020, more Canadians now intend to get vaccinated as soon as possible (59%; +9), while fewer say they will wait a while before getting the shot (21%; -8). Less than one-in-ten (8%; – 3) now say they will never get vaccinated.  Seven percent (7%; -2) are unsure if they will get it.

Vaccination hesitancy amongst those preferring to wait, those opposed to the vaccine, and those who are unsure is primarily rooted in concerns about safety, side effects, and rushed trials – followed by lack of information.

  • Those who say they will never get vaccinated are also driven by skepticism about the vaccines’ efficacy.

For more details, see our report.

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