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

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

Eva Pucci Couture in this file shot from May 29, 2019, when she came to Chilliwack asking for the public’s help in locating her missing son, Kristofer Shawn Couture. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Mom of missing man posts request for information at two-year mark

‘I wish someone would come forward with insight into your whereabouts,’ pleads mom of missing man

Abbotsford tattoo artist Tanya Loewen has entered the Inked cover girl contest.
Abbotsford mother, tattoo artist enters Inked cover girl contest

Tanya Loewen, tattoo artist at Van Bree Tattoo, hoping to win big in magazine contest

District of Kent farmers brought truckloads of used plastic to the Schwichtenburg farm Oct. 26, 2018, for pickup by Kent Agricultural Plastics Recycling, a grassroots, farmer-initiated organization that collects and distributes used plastics for recycling. (Nina Grossman/The Observer)
Agassiz’s agricultural plastics program heading to the dump, unless province steps in

Kent Agricultural Plastics Recycling has nowhere to go, hopes B.C. will create a recycling program

Adam Suleman announced his intention to run in the Chilliwack school board byelection on Dec. 21, 2020. The byelection is set for Feb. 13, 2021. (Submitted)
VIDEO: Chilliwack byelection candidate focuses on mental health, bullying, COVID-19 safety

Adam Suleman: ‘If we address mental health we can address so many other issues at the same time’

Sheriff Avory Chapman was last seen Jan. 20 on Wellington Avenue in Chilliwack. (RCMP)
RCMP look for missing man last seen in downtown Chilliwack

21-year-old Sheriff Avory Chapman has been missing since Jan. 20

Rose Sawka, 91, waves to her son through the window of a care home in Prince Rupert in October. Residents of the care home received their first vaccine dose Jan. 20. (K-J Millar/The Northern View)
B.C. care home visitor access to expand by March, Dix says

Staff, residents, essential visitors top priorities for vaccine

The shirts sell for $45, with 30 per cent of proceeds from each sale going to Battered Women’s Support Services in Vancouver. (Madame Premier/Sarah Elder-Chamanara)
Canadian company launches ‘hysterical’ T-Shirt to combat health officials’ use of word

A partnership with Tamara Taggart will see women broadcast the word on a T-shirt or tote bag

ICBC has seen savings on crash and injury claims in the COVID-19 pandemic, with traffic on B.C. roads reduced. (Penticton Western News)
ICBC opens online calculator for rate savings starting in May

Bypassing courts expected to save 20% on average

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
16% boom predicted for B.C. real estate sales in 2021: experts

Along with sales, the average price of homes is also predicted to rise, by nearly 8 percent

The trial of Harry Richardson began Monday at the Nelson courthouse. File photo
Trial of man accused of shooting RCMP officer in West Kootenay in 2019 begins

Harry Richardson is facing five charges in a Nelson courtroom

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Brad Windsor has been an advocate for years to get sidewalks installed along Milburn Drive in Colwood, but to no avail. He wants city council to commit to making Milburn a priority lane for sidewalk construction in the future. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dramatic crash caught on B.C. home security camera

Angry residents say video highlights need for sidewalks in B.C. residential neighbourhood

An independent review is underway at the Royal BC Museum after employees called out systemic, individual racism at the institution. (Twitter/RBCM)
Royal BC Museum faces allegations of systemic racism, toxic work environment

Formal investigation, survey and training launched at museum

Most Read