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Most of us… believe the COVID-19 vaccine should be mandatory once available

It’s expected to be months, if not years, before researchers develop a COVID-19 vaccine, but the majority of Canadians feel that when that time comes, it should be mandatory.

This finding was presented in Leger’s latest public opinion poll, which revealed that 60 per cent of Canadians believe everyone should receive the vaccine once it is ready while 40 per cent think it should be voluntary.

Older Canadians over the age of 55, who are more at risk of harm from the virus, were more likely to support a mandatory vaccine at 64 per cent. Regional support was highest amongst the Atlantic provinces as 63 per cent of respondents said they believed everyone should receive the shot. Manitoba and Saskatchewan were the most divided on implementation with 48 per cent of residents in those provinces saying the vaccine should be voluntary.

The federal government has committed to dishing out millions of dollars to help find a vaccine. But with the World Health Organization reporting there are at least five candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation and 71 in preclinical evaluation, experts predict it could be anywhere from 12 to 18 months before it’s available for the public to use.

On Tuesday, CTV News reported that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada is already preparing production capacity for a vaccine, but would not give any details on protocols or who would be able to receive the vaccine.

“We still have a fair bit of time to reflect on that in order to get it right,” he said.

In Leger’s poll, researchers also asked Canadians about what activities they would be comfortable with once social distancing restrictions are reduced. Almost 60 per cent said they would be ok with home renovations being carried out by contractors, 57 per cent said going to farmers’ markets, and 53 per cent said going shopping at the mall. Forty five per cent said they would be comfortable eating in a restaurant.

The least popular activities included going to the gym (24 per cent), flying on an airplane (23 per cent) and attending a concert or sports event (21 per cent).