Fourth vaccines are widely available in Ontario now, but a new poll shows many Canadians are reluctant to get the latest booster shot.
The Angus Reid Institute polled over 1,500 Canadians about their booster plans. Three in five said they were ready and willing to get their next shot when available, while 62 per cent of those polled said they would do it annually if necessary.
“There is, however, an emerging schism among those willing to continue receiving a COVID-19 inoculation,” a spokesperson for Angus Reid said.
“For those who have already had three or four shots, the willingness to keep boosting remains high.”
Among Canadians who have received one or two doses, 17 per cent said they would seek another vaccine shot, while three in five said no.
Just over half of the respondents (54 per cent) said their province should offer a fourth dose to all adults who want one as soon as possible, while one in five (18 per cent) prefer to wait until the fall.
As of July 14, Ontario adults aged 18 to 59 who received their first booster at least five months prior can book their next shot through the province’s online portal.
Appointments were also available through pharmacies, public health unit booking systems and walk-in clinics.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore has said he anticipates that the current wave of infections will peak in the next two weeks due to the BA.5 Omicron variant, which is currently driving the seventh wave of cases.
According to the same Angus Reid poll, not every Canadian is convinced that the latest boosters will protect them against COVID-19 and its emerging variants.
One in five (22 per cent) of Canadians said they do not believe that keeping up with vaccinations gives a person protection against infection or severe illness.
Eighteen per cent believe there’s no immediate urgency, and booster doses can wait until the fall. One-quarter (25 per cent) said there’s no need to expand booster eligibility.
Dr. Moore said last week that young people who don’t have underlying health conditions might wait for the fall when it’s hoped that vaccines specifically targeting the Omicron variant will become available.
Dr. Moore said that Ontarians should speak with their healthcare provider about whether a fourth dose is right for them. The province’s top doctor also recommended that people wait at least three months after a COVID-19 infection to get a booster shot.
Three in five (62 per cent) of those polled said they would be willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine once a year for as long as necessary, assuming doctors and public health officials recommended it.
Dr. Moore addressed a potential annual COVID-19 vaccine shot in a recent interview with CityNews, saying that would likely become the new norm.
“Right now, the virus clearly isn’t becoming seasonal. We’re getting a summer wave,” Dr. Moore noted.
“Once it does turn into a more seasonal virus – which has happened to the previous coronavirus that affects humans – then a once a year, a seasonal vaccine for coronavirus may be appropriate at that time.”