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Trust in vaccines jumps higher to 74 per cent from January to May, up 10 points

May 7, 2021

TORONTO, MAY 7, 2021 - A new survey of 1,500 Canadians conducted May 1 to 3 shows that trust in vaccines is now at 74 per cent, up from 64 per cent in January. The increase occurred in all regions of the country, including 11-point increases in Ontario and the Prairies. 

Medical doctors at 83 per cent and scientists at 80 per cent remain dominant as the most trusted sources for reliable information. Despite some criticism, trust in Canada’s Chief Medical Officer (68 per cent) and provincial health officers (66 per cent) has also grown since January. 

“It’s very encouraging that trust in vaccines has grown so much in four months, although it is also clear that trust is not shared equally between the four main brands,” said Bruce MacLellan, CEO, Proof Strategies Inc. “Public health officials need to manage their words carefully.” 

More than nine in ten Canadians have heard of each of the four leading brands of vaccines available in Canada. By brand, trust levels are highest for mRNA vaccines Pfizer (83 per cent) and Moderna (78 per cent), followed by Johnson & Johnson (49 per cent) and AstraZeneca (45 per cent). 

Vaccine trust by brand has become uneven with various regulatory updates and announcements around the world. On May 3, while this survey was in field, Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization said that the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna are “preferred”, and that Canadians should weigh the risks before they decide which one to receive. 

Vaccine trust continues to be lowest among low-income Canadians at only 58 per cent for households with income under $35,000 and is at 57 per cent with Gen Z (under age 25). 

Unlike in the United States, trust in vaccines in Canada is not affected significantly by a person’s political support. Overall, vaccines are trusted by 82 per cent of Liberal supporters, 73 per cent by Conservatives, 76 per cent by New Democrats, 71 per cent by Greens and 80 per cent by Bloc supporters. 

“There is a broad coalition behind vaccine safety in Canada and trust is improving as a result, according to this special edition of our CanTrust Index,” said Greg MacEachern, Senior Vice President, Proof Strategies Inc. “Political leaders will do well when they can show they are following the advice of their own health experts,” he added.  

The Prime Minister and Premiers overall have seen no real change in trust from January to May. The lowest trust for both is in the Prairies with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at 37 per cent and Premiers at 29 per cent.  

When asked to choose the region that has done the best job of managing COVID-19, implementing vaccinations and protecting public health during the pandemic, the top choice of Canadians’ is Atlantic at 28 per cent. Another 27 per cent said they were not sure, while 14 per cent chose Quebec, 10 per cent chose Ontario, seven per cent chose B.C. and six per cent chose the Prairies. 

The survey, which also examined other trusted sources of information about COVID-19, shows: 

“We continue to advocate that leaders and organizations should have deliberate strategies for building trust. If you’re not building it, you’re probably losing it,” said MacLellan. 

About Proof Strategies Inc. 
For leaders responsible for managing, protecting and building organizations and brands, Proof Strategies is a public relations and communications partner that “asks better questions” to create insight, grow trust and achieve success. Founded in 1994 and now with more than 300 awards for client work and industry leadership, the independently owned Proof family of companies (Proof Strategies, Trustlab and Proof Experiences) have offices in Toronto, Montréal, Ottawa and Washington, DC. Follow Proof at getproof.com and on Twitter and Instagram at @get_proof. 

About the Proof Strategies CanTrust Index 
The Proof Strategies CanTrust Index is a leading source of research and understanding of trust in Canada. We study and analyze topics, institutions, events and population segments unique to Canada. For the May 2021 pandemic update, we surveyed 1,500 Canadians on May 1 to 3. It follows our January 2021 study, which also surveyed 1,500 Canadians. The sample is representative of Canadian population statistics by region, age and gender.   

For further information:  

Lama Nicolas 

lnicolas@getproof.com 

416-969-2766