Confidence in AstraZeneca jumps amid increase in eligible recipients

VANCOUVER – An extraordinary period in which Xennials and Generation-Xers became eligible for AstraZeneca doses in several provinces (and in turn answered the call while simultaneously reviving ‘80s movies memes on social media) has not only increased Canada’s vaccination rate, but also appears to have heightened comfort in the AZ vaccine itself.

New data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds this expansion in eligibility, along with assurances from medical professionals that the benefits of the vaccine well outweigh the risks, has had a positive impact on public opinion of the vaccine.

Among Canadians willing but yet to be vaccinated, 52 per cent now say that they are comfortable receiving AstraZeneca. This represents an 11-point increase in comfort levels in just two weeks.

The bad news for public health officials and herd immunity pursuers is that after a pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the United States due to similar rare side effects, comfort levels with that vaccine brand have dipped 16 points. Canada is expected to begin to offer the J&J vaccine in the coming weeks.

Seventy-one per cent of Canadians have either had their first dose of COVID-19 vaccination or would like to be inoculated as soon as possible. This proportion has increased steadily for four straight months

Albertans continue to voice the highest levels of hesitation to vaccination. Three-in-ten (28%) say they will not be vaccinated or remain unsure, compared to the national average of 16 per cent

Among those who say they are uncomfortable with AstraZeneca, 40 per cent say they would reject it if offered. Those who are uncomfortable with Johnson & Johnson would reject it at a similar rate (39%).