New poll indicates most Canadians are ready for a COVID-19 booster

A new poll indicates most Canadians are ready for a COVID-19 booster when their name gets called.

The poll comes after Manitoba expanded eligibility for third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine earlier this week.

The survey, done by Nanos Research and commissioned by CTV News, found 69 per cent of respondents are interested in a booster shot and 15 per cent are somewhat interested.

The regional breakdown shows interest in the prairies was lower at 65 per cent.

"It's still a majority of individuals in the prairies but below the national average," said Nik Nanos of Nanos Research.

Nationally, the recommendation for third doses is for long-term care residents and those with compromised immune systems.

This week in Manitoba the provincial vaccine task force added healthcare workers and those who only got a viral vector vaccine.

"I think it's likely that at some point we'll be recommending a third dose for most people. I would say that's still not a guarantee," said Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead for the Vaccine Implementation Task Force on Wednesday.

Reimer said it depends on what happens with severe outcomes like hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths.

“I don’t want people to be worried that they're not well protected because really the studies have shown that when we are talking about hospitalization and death these vaccines are extremely effective and that protection lasts for a long time."

She added data from recent studies show protection against severe outcomes has stayed at about 90 per cent.

Virologist Jason Kindrachuk said vaccine effectiveness needs that context.

"There's a couple ways to look at this, the protection from getting infected and then there’s the protection from symptomatic disease and severe disease," said Kindrachuk.

He said we need to appreciate there are many variables taken into account when making a broader third dose decision.

"Until a point in time comes where we see all the health organizations move ahead and say, ‘Yes, we need to do broadly third dosing,’ I think we need to rest assured that people have our best interest in mind," said Kindrachuk.

The margin of error for the Nanos survey is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.