British Columbia

Majority of people surveyed by B.C. researchers say they are willing to receive COVID-19 vaccine

A new study by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and the Women’s Health Research Institute found 83.9 per cent of survey respondents say they’re somewhat likely or very likely to get the shot when it is available to them.

B.C.'s vaccine rollout began Tuesday afternoon

Priority recipients for the vaccine are long-term care workers and the elderly. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

With doses of a COVID-19 vaccine already on B.C. soil, a new study shows many residents are ready to roll up their sleeves and get the shot when it is available to them.

Research conducted by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and the Women's Health Research Institute (WHRI) between August and December found 83.9 per cent of 4,637 residents between the ages of 25 and 69 are somewhat likely, or very likely, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The question the group responded to was: If a COVID-19 vaccine were to become available to the public, and recommended for you, how likely are you to receive it?

Results were gleaned from an electronic survey sent primarily to women who were already participating in ongoing WHRI research about the impact of the pandemic on women. These recipients were then invited to share with male members of their household.

Dr. Gina Ogilvie, one of the study's authors, says the resulting group is about 20 per cent male and that male respondents were more likely to say they intended to receive the vaccine than women.

"Often men are less likely to say they are going to get vaccinated," Ogilvie said Monday on The Early Edition, adding it was surprising to see men respond favourably.

A truck carrying COVID-19 vaccine crosses the Canada-U.S. border into B.C., on Monday, Dec. 12, 2020. (CBSA/Lestudio Neuf)

Turning intention into action

The demographic with the highest intention to vaccinate were those over 60, at 88.6 per cent. People in the 30 to 39 age group had the lowest intention, at 79.4 per cent.

Ogilvie said this information is useful for public health officials who want to make sure the intent to vaccinate translates into action.

One way to build and maintain trust among British Columbians, she said, is for those health officials to continuously monitor and share updates about ongoing vaccine research.

"The clinical trials have shown that they are very safe but people want ongoing long-term data," said Ogilvie.

She said it is also important for public health leaders to be on social media, providing trusted sources of information that can help counteract false vaccine information flourishing in the "dark corners of the internet."

B.C. gave its first vaccinations Tuesday, marking a "momentous" move in the province's fight against COVID-19, according to B.C.'s provincial health officer. 

The shipment of 3,900 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which arrived in B.C. on Sunday night, will go to health-care workers and long-term care staff. They'll be administered at two vaccination sites in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions.

The vaccine will be available next week in every health authority across B.C. as the province opens more sites. 

With files from The Early Edition

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