CITF Leadership Group member Dr. Gina Ogilvie and VSRG Working Group member Dr. Manish Sadarangani have found, in a study published in BMC Public Health, that nearly 80% of British Columbians intend to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. That percentage does vary by race, gender, education, ethnicity and occupation, with hesitancy highest among participants with less than high school education, self-identifying as non-white, women, or Indigenous, or working as an essential non-healthcare worker.
An online survey was administered to residents of British Columbia (BC) aged 25-69 to assess their intentions to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Participants primarily answered the question “If a COVID-19 vaccine were to become available to the public, and recommended for you, how likely are you to receive it?” The survey included questions on vaccine attitudes, direct social norms, indirect social norms, perceived behavioural controls, vaccine lack of confidence, and vaccine risk.
A total of 4787 participants completed the survey. Among them, 79.8% were ‘somewhat or very likely’ to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. A high proportion of essential healthcare workers (81.8%) indicated that they also would agree to receive the vaccine. Participants with the intention of being vaccinated were also more likely to be influenced by the opinions of family, or advice from their family physician/primary healthcare provider, and the Provincial Health Officer.
Researchers found that participants in all age groups, except those aged 25–29, were less likely to want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, compared to those in the 60–69 age group. Other factors associated with a lower readiness (willingness) to receive the vaccine included being an essential non-healthcare worker, or identifying as non-white, South Asian or of Indigenous ancestry.
These results will provide guidance to public health decision makers on strategies to increase confidence and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines. Findings show that family physicians and Provincial Health Officers have a great influence on the public’s view on vaccination. This influence should be used to build trust and share information regarding benefits of COVID-19 vaccination for families and communities, thus optimizing vaccine coverage.
Ogilvie, G.S., Gordon, S., Smith, L.W. et al. Intention to receive a COVID-19 vaccine: results from a population-based survey in Canada. BMC Public Health 21, 1017. 2021 May 29. doi: 10.1186/s12889-021-11098-9.