A new survey suggests tensions over COVID-19 vaccines in Canada are high as frictions mount between those who are vaccinated against the virus and those who are not.
The Leger poll, conducted for the Association for Canadian Studies, found that more than three in four respondents have negative opinions about those who are not immunized.
Association president Jack Jedwab says relationships between vaccinated and unvaccinated Canadians are also viewed negatively by two out of three survey participants.
The online survey surveyed 1,549 Canadians between September 10 and 12.
Online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error as they are not considered truly random samples of the population.
The survey found that vaccinated people view the unvaccinated as irresponsible and selfish, a viewpoint questioned by those who are not immunized.
Some members of the latter group have held demonstrations outside hospitals and schools in recent weeks to protest against vaccine passports and other public health measures.
“I would say there is a high level of antipathy or animosity towards people who are not vaccinated at this time,” Jedwab said. “What you are seeing is the tension that develops between family and friends, co-workers, where there are relationships between vaccinated and unvaccinated people.”
The situation creates friction and is persistent, he added.
The survey results, he noted, also suggest that tensions between vaccinated and unvaccinated Canadians are on par with some of the other social, racial and cultural issues that divide the population.
“My feeling is that many negative feelings that people feel towards certain groups are being displaced by their feelings of antipathy towards people who are not vaccinated,” he said.
High tensions between vaccinated and unvaccinated in Canada, survey suggests. # COVID19 ## Covid19vaccine
Jedwab said the survey also found divisions among people who are not immunized, with about one in four unvaccinated respondents having negative views toward other people with the same vaccination status.
The survey findings suggest that unvaccinated people personally justify their reasons for not being immunized, but will reject others’ decision to follow the same course, Jedwab said.
An earlier survey by the association suggested that unvaccinated Canadians are more concerned about receiving the vaccine than contracting COVID-19, and most Canadians would refuse to allow unvaccinated adults into their homes.
Jedwab said he expected tensions between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated to rise further as governments and employers continue to push for more people to get vaccinated.
This Canadian Press report was first published on September 27, 2021.