If a COVID-19 vaccine were available today, three in four adults in Canada would roll up their sleeves according to a new Ipsos survey.
On Monday, the polling firm released a survey of 20,000 adults from 27 countries done on behalf of the World Economic Forum which shows 74 per cent would get a COVID-19 vaccine. In Canada, the number climbs to 77 per cent.
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said on Tuesday a vaccine would be key for life to return to something more familiar to pre-pandemic times.
“What Canada and the world needs to have [for] the best shot at normalcy is safe and effective vaccines,” Tam said at a news conference.
That longing for normalcy is alive and well in Windsor and a vaccine is seen as a sort of silver bullet in that mission.
“If scientists will be able to find a vaccine then, we can go out without these masks which is probably a good thing,” said Raavi Sharma, when asked by CTV News about a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
Others in Windsor are also in support.
“I’m 62 [years old] and I still feel that I’ve got plenty of life left so, if it comes up to protecting myself and others as well, I would do it in a heartbeat,” said Paul Wayvonko.
While there are those ready to get in line for a would-be COVID-19 vaccine, there are some who feel a wait-and-see approach is best.
“I would take it but, I would wait a little bit. I wouldn’t be the first,” said Leslie Ssebazza. “Trying to get back to what we were before, a vaccine will definitely help.”
“I’m not anti-vaccine, I’m just cautious to who developed it and how it was tested,” said Stacey Mills.
The federal government has signed deals with four companies developing potential COVID-19 vaccines to ensure Canadians will have access to the life-changing serum should it be successfully developed. This week, the Trudeau government announced deals with Novavax and Johnson and Johnson in addition to previous deals struck with Moderna and Pfizer.
Dr. Tam says vaccine development typically takes a decade. However, she says the need for a fast-tracked COVID-19 vaccine is great but stresses — it won’t come at the expense of safety or effectiveness.
“Canada and the world cannot wait 10 years for a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Tam. “By the same token, we cannot and will not compromise safety and efficacy.”
The Ipsos survey also notes the key concerns globally and in Canada for those steering clear of a potential COVID-19 vaccine are side effects and effectiveness, with 54 per cent and 34 per cent of Canadians surveyed citing the concerns respectively in the poll.
For those concerned about the condensed timeline for a potential COVID-19 vaccine, Tam notes the vaccine will be tested “extensively among thousands of volunteers” and adds if a vaccine is approved, it will meet Canada’s high standards of safety and efficacy.
Despite assurances from public health officials and experts, there are skeptics in Windsor.
“I would not be for taking it just because there hasn’t been enough research, enough time,” said Milica Kulidzan.
Others are opposed outright.
“I don’t think you can hide from the invisible boogeyman,” said David MacKay. “I won’t stick a needle in my arm, doesn’t matter what’s in it.”
Some companies have entered the final, and most time-consuming, testing stage for potential vaccines while Russian President Vladimir Putin claims his country has produced the first viable vaccine for the novel coronavirus.