Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. In a bid to control COVID-19, the federal government plans to make free vaccines available to everyone who lives in Canada over the course of 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. In a bid to control COVID-19, the federal government plans to make free vaccines available to everyone who lives in Canada over the course of 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool

Number of Canadians who want COVID vaccine inches country towards herd immunity: poll

Poll shows growing acceptance of COVID vaccine since July

More than half of Canadians told pollsters this month they would get vaccinated against COVID-19, inching towards the percentage needed to establish herd immunity against the virus.

The poll, conducted by the Angus Reid Institute, has tracked the percentage of Canadians who said they’ll take the vaccine once it becomes available. As of Jan. 7-10, that number is at 60 per cent – a figure that Canada’s chief medical officer Dr. Theresa Theresa Tam said could begin to provide herd immunity. In early December, Tam had hypothesized that levels between 60 and 70 per cent of the population could be enough. In January, B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry estimated similar figures.

Pollsters have tracked vaccine willingness since July, when 46 per cent of people said they would get it as soon as possible. That number dipped to 39 per cent in September, inched up to 40 per cent in November and reached 48 per cent in December before hitting 60 per cent this weekend.

Broken down by age and gender, men and women aged 55 and up were the most likely to want the COVID vaccine right away, at 68 per cent and 70 per cent, respectively. Men between the ages of 18 and 54 remained the most skeptical about the vaccine with 53 and 52 per cent, respectively, saying they’d get it right away. Among women in the same age groups, 57 and 59 per cent of women said they’d get the vaccine right away.

How soon many Canadians can get vaccinated however remains up in the air. Currently, Canada has sent 545,250 doses of the vaccine to provinces, of which 319,938 doses have been given to people. With both currently approved vaccines – Moderna and Pfizer – requiring two doses, Canada would require upwards of 76 million doses of the vaccine to immunize its entire population.

The poll was carried out as many provinces remain under lockdown. Quebec, which has been hardest hit by the pandemic, imposed a strict curfew on Friday.

B.C. remains under heightened restrictions until Feb. 5 and much of Ontario, the second hardest hit province, is under lockdown.

B.C. has recorded at least 56,632 cases and 988 deaths as of Monday, although numbers from the weekend will not be made public until the afternoon.

In a statement Monday morning, Tam said there are at least 84,567 active cases in Canada currently, with 7,672 reported on average each day of last week. There were an average of 4,336 people in hospital each day, with 811 of them in ICU or intensive care and 136 daily deaths.

READ MORE: At least 4 million Canadians need vaccines for country to look at reopening economy: RBC


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