Half of Canadians have had COVID. There’s still a lot of interest in boosters, but more refusal too.

One in every two Canadians (49%) say they contracted COVID, and 1-in-10 (11%) were infected more than once. But while almost 90% of Canadians have had prior vaccinations for Covid, a lot fewer are sure they will get another booster, and 28% are sure they will not do so.

Findings from our latest spark* insights polling (online survey of 2,000 Canadians conducted in October 2023) include:

  • Seniors are less likely to have personally experienced COVID, and most interested in a fall booster shot. This cohort has consistently shown the greatest commitment to safety measures to mitigate the risks of Covid.
  • Young Canadians are more likely to have contracted COVID, with 59% experiencing it at least once and 18% catching it multiple times. But among this group, uptake of the booster might not exceed 50% this fall.
  • Conservative voters are more than 3 times more likely than Liberals to refuse this fall’s booster: 38% of CPC voters definitely will not, compared to 11% of Liberals.
  • Having had COVID does not appear to strongly influence interest in getting future booster shots. 55% of those who have had COVID are likely to get a fall booster shot, in line with 55% among the general public.

Parting takeaway

Bruce Anderson: “A great number of Canadians have had experience with Covid directly and while many plan to continue to take up the opportunity for Covid booster shots this fall, a sizeable minority will not. This is likely due to a combination of factors, including a sense that the severity of the illness has declined, the cumulation of misinformation about the risks associated with the vaccine, and politicization of the choice to be vaccinated or not. The science of the disease and the vaccine is the same whether you are Conservative or Liberal, so the only difference is what you’ve been told and what you trust, by the politicians you are attentive to.”

Survey details: October 10-15 online, 2000 cases nationwide in Canada.

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