Wave 2.4

COSMO Canada

Implementing the WHO Behavioural Insights tool on COVID-19 to inform response efforts, including policy, interventions and communications.

Background

From April 2020 to November 2021, Impact Canada led the implementation of the World Health Organization (WHO) Behavioural Insights (BI) Tool on COVID-19 in the Canadian context. This study - COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring (COSMO Canada) - was conducted in collaboration with the Public Opinion Research Team at the Privy Council Office and the Public Health Agency of Canada. Insights from COSMO Phase One informed the federal response to COVID-19 and enabled whole-of-government decision making to meet the specific, changing needs of citizens throughout the pandemic.

In February 2022, Impact Canada launched the second phase and will continue to monitor the evolving pandemic response context with a new sample of Canadians and a new Advisory Committee.

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Phase 2 Methodology

With a longitudinal design, the study follows 2,000 participants recruited from an online panel over eight waves of data collection. Respondents are a representative mix of Canadian adults aged 18 years and older and results are weighted using 2016 Statistics Canada census data to mirror the population distribution in Canada. For more information on the study methodology, please visit the COSMO Canada pre-registration page.

Key Insights

Proximity to COVID-19 & Public Health Measures: In Wave 2.4, 49% of respondents reported having been - or likely having been - infected with COVID-19 at some point in the pandemic (up from 31% in Wave 2.3). Of those who have been infected, 12% report having experienced symptoms of Post-COVID Condition. Fewer than half of respondents reported often or always practicing public health measures such as wearing a face mask when it is not mandatory (40%), taking steps to improve air quality (40%) and avoiding public places and events (37%).

Adult Vaccination: Over time, intentions to get a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine have decreased, while third dose uptake has not increased meaningfully. When asked whether they would get a new vaccine that better protects against variants of COVID-19, 32% of those with two doses, 82% of those with three doses and 96% of those with four doses indicated that they would be likely to get a new vaccine.

Pediatric Vaccination: 42% of parents with children aged 6 months to 4 years intend to vaccinate their children, either as soon as possible or after some time. The top reasons provided by parents who were unsure or against vaccinating their children under the age of 12 were: the belief that vaccines are unnecessary for children because they are not at risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 (63%); thinking that not enough research or testing has been done (59%); and, thinking that there is no point in getting vaccines because they are not stopping the spread of COVID-19 (59%).

Sources of Information & Trust: Trust in information sources for COVID-19 has not shifted significantly since data collection began. 51% of respondents reported completely or moderately trusting the Canadian federal government, while 38% reported moderate or complete distrust. News consumption about COVID-19 decreased between April and June 2022 and remained relatively stable in August.

COVID-19 Knowledge & Misinformation:  A minority of respondents indicated that false statements about COVID-19 were ‘very accurate’ or ‘somewhat accurate’. These portions ranged between 3% and 30%, depending on the statement. In Wave 2.4, 65% of respondents reported being very or extremely concerned about the spread of misinformation and disinformation online.

Mental Health &  Wellbeing: Life satisfaction has increased slightly since the beginning of phase two data collection in February 2022. In Wave 2.4, 75% of respondents reported that they were satisfied with their lives as a whole, 6% were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied and 19% were dissatisfied. Younger respondents (18-34) reported lower life satisfaction and poor mental health indicators compared to older respondents.

Pandemic Outlook & Recovery: Overall, respondents were quite split on when they think life will resemble pre-pandemic times. 29% think that life will never resemble pre-pandemic times, 23% think that life already resembles pre-pandemic times, 27% think that it will be longer than six months, and 7% think it will be one to six months. Over time, most of respondents’ health-related worries have declined and worries about cost-of-living, increasing divisiveness in society and climate change are higher priority.


Considerations

Data Collected: August 3-26, 2022

Sample Size: 2,000

When interpreting the COSMO results, it is useful to keep in mind the context of the data collection period, which may have influenced the responses of survey participants. Prior to and during the Wave 2.4 data collection period:

  • COVID-19 case numbers increased in August, while most public health measures remained lifted.
  • Most Canadians were vaccinated. As of August 14, 2022, approximately 93% of the Canadian population aged 18+ had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 91% had at least two doses, 60% had at least three doses, and 15% had four doses.
  • On July 14, prior to data collection, Health Canada approved a Moderna vaccine for children aged 6 months to 5 years. Among children aged 12-17, 87% had at least one dose, 84% had at least two doses, and 19% had three doses. Among children aged 5-11, 55% had at least one dose and 42% had two doses. 3% of children four and under had one dose.

Proximity to COVID-19 & Public Health Measures

Half of respondents report having been infected with COVID-19 at some point

In Wave 2.4, 49% of respondents reported having been - or likely having been - infected with COVID-19 at some point in the pandemic (up from 31% in Wave 2.3). The portion of the sample reporting not having been infected with COVID-19 decreased from 69% in February to 47% in August. Unvaccinated respondents (74%) and respondents from Alberta (58%) were more likely have been infected with COVID-19. Respondents aged 55+ (32%) and respondents from Atlantic Canada were less likely (40%) to report having been infected.

Figure 1. Are you or have you been infected with COVID-19? [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 1. Are you or have you been infected with COVID-19? [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Some report having been infected more than once

Among respondents who reported having been infected with COVID-19, 76% reported having been infected one time and 13% were infected twice. Unvaccinated respondents (23%) and respondents aged 18-34 (19%) reported having been infected more than once at higher rates than the average (14%).

Figure 2. How many times have you been infected with COVID-19? [Asked to respondents who reported having been infected (n=975)]

 
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    Table 2. How many times have you been infected with COVID-19? [Asked to respondents who reported having been infected (n=975)]

     

The majority of COVID-19 infections occurred in 2022

The majority (71%) of self-reported COVID-19 infections occurred in 2022. 13% of those who had been infected with COVID-19 (49% of the sample) reported having been infected in July 2022. The timing of self-reported infections in COSMO align with official reporting on COVID-19 waves in Canada.

Figure 3. You’ve indicated that you were infected with COVID-19. In which month(s) were you infected? [Asked to respondents who reported having been infected (n=879)]

 
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    Table 3. You’ve indicated that you were infected with COVID-19. In which month(s) were you infected? [Asked to respondents who reported having been infected (n=879)]

     

A small portion of respondents report having had symptoms of Post-COVID Condition

Among respondents who had been infected with COVID-19 (49% of the sample), 12% indicated that they had experienced symptoms of Post-COVID Condition and 14% were unsure.

Figure 4. Have you experienced any long COVID symptoms (i.e. physical or psychological symptoms lasting more than 12 weeks after getting COVID-19)? [Asked to respondents who reported having been infected (n=975)]

 
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    Table 4. Have you experienced any long COVID symptoms (i.e. physical or psychological symptoms lasting more than 12 weeks after getting COVID-19)? [Asked to respondents who reported having been infected (n=975)]

     

Half of those who have been infected with COVID-19 think that they will be reinfected in the future

Overall, 42% of respondents agree that they are likely to get infected or reinfected with COVID-19 in the future. Respondents who had previously been infected with COVID-19 agreed in higher numbers that they will likely be reinfected with COVID-19 (56%) compared to respondents who had not been infected (29%).

Figure 5. Please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statement: I will likely get infected/reinfected with COVID-19 in the future. [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000). Infected (n=1025); reinfected (n=975)]

 
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    Table 5. Please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statement: I will likely get infected/reinfected with COVID-19 in the future. [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000). Infected (n=1025); reinfected (n=975)]

     

A quarter of respondents think that their chance of getting COVID-19 is low relative to others

58% of respondents thought that their risk of getting COVID-19 is the same as other people their age. 26% thought that their risk is lower and 16% thought it is higher than other people their age. Respondents aged 18-34 (33%) and residents of Alberta (35%) were more likely to think that their risk of getting COVID-19 is lower than other people their age.

Figure 6. Please give your opinion on the following statement: Compared to most people my age, my risk of getting COVID-19 is... [Asked to all respondents (n=2000)]

 
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    Table 6. Please give your opinion on the following statement: Compared to most people my age, my risk of getting COVID-19 is... [Asked to all respondents (n=2000)]

     

Respondents consider many factors in assessing their personal risk from COVID-19, while a notable proportion do not assess their risk

When asked which factors they consider when assessing their personal risk of being infected with COVID-19, the highest portions of respondents reported considering their health status (62%) and their vaccination status (57%). 16% of respondents indicated that they do not assess their personal risk of becoming infected with COVID-19. Men (20%) were more likely than women (12%) to say that they do not assess their personal risk. Residents of Alberta were also more likely to indicate that they do not assess their personal risk of becoming infected with COVID (26%).

Figure 7. Which of the following factors do you consider when assessing your personal risk of being infected with COVID-19? [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 7. Which of the following factors do you consider when assessing your personal risk of being infected with COVID-19? [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

A third of respondents have been tested for COVID-19 in the past month

In Wave 2.4, 29% of respondents reported having been tested for COVID-19 in the past month, either using a rapid (27%) or PCR test (2%). 16% of respondents reported that they had administered a rapid test on someone else in the past month. Testing practices were quite stable between June and August.

Figure 8. In the past four weeks, have you… [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 8. In the past four weeks, have you… [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Half of respondents would not use rapid tests if they had to pay for them

47% of respondents disagreed that they would use rapid tests if they had to pay for them. Respondents with incomes under $30K were slightly less likely to agree (26%) that they would use rapid tests if they had to pay for them compared to those with income levels of $40-$100K (30%) and 100K+ (35%). 75% of respondents agreed that governments should provide free rapid tests for Canadians.

Figure 9. Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statements: [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 9. Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statements: [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Adherence to many public health measures

Fewer than half of respondents reported often or always practicing public health measures such as wearing a face mask when it is not mandatory (41%), taking steps to improve air quality (40%) and avoiding public places and events (37%). The relatively low proportion of respondents voluntarily practicing health measures represents the latest data point in a declining trend over time. Respondents aged 55+ and women were more likely to report often or always practicing public health behaviours. Younger respondents, men, and residents of Alberta were less likely to report practicing these measures.

Figure 10. In the past month, how often have you used the following measures to avoid getting COVID-19 or to prevent the spread of COVID-19? [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 10. In the past month, how often have you used the following measures to avoid getting COVID-19 or to prevent the spread of COVID-19? [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Adherence to public health measures has declined slightly over time

In general, the portion of respondents who report often or always practicing public health measures decreased slightly between February and August, with the exception of measures to improve air quality, which increased slightly (from 29% in February to 40% in August).

Figure 11. In the past month, how often have you used the following measures to avoid getting COVID-19 or to prevent the spread of COVID-19? [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000), responded often or always]

 
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    Table 11. In the past month, how often have you used the following measures to avoid getting COVID-19 or to prevent the spread of COVID-19? [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Most who wear masks do not use respirator-type masks

Among respondents who reported sometimes, often or always wearing a mask in the past month (84% of the sample), 56% reported wearing procedural or surgical masks, 25% reported wearing non-medical masks and 19% reported wearing respirators. While respondents aged 55+ reported wearing masks in non-mandatory settings more frequently (53% report often or always wearing a mask), only 22% reported wearing respirator-type masks.

Figure 12. Which of the following types of masks do you wear most often? [Asked to respondents who sometimes, often or always wore a mask in the past month (n=1699)]

 
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    Table 12. Which of the following types of masks do you wear most often? [Asked to respondents who sometimes, often or always wore a mask in the past month (n=1699)]

     

Participation in gatherings, events and travel has increased over time

In general, participation in gatherings, events and travel increased wave-to-wave between February and June and remained relatively stable between June and August. Older respondents and women were less likely to report participating in the listed activities. For example, 73% of respondents aged 55+ reporting visiting with family and friends indoors compared to the average, 81%.

Figure 13. In the past two weeks, have you… [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 13. In the past two weeks, have you… [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Over half think that a reintroduction of public health measures would be necessary in a variety of scenarios

When asked whether a reintroduction of public health measures would be necessary and a variety of scenarios, the highest portions of respondents thought that a reintroduction of measures would be necessary if a new deadlier variant of COVID-19 emerged (69%) and if hospitals became increasingly strained (67%). However, a quarter of respondents thought that a reintroduction of measures would be unnecessary in these scenarios. Older respondents, women, residents of BC, and residents of Atlantic Canada were more likely to indicate that a reintroduction of measures would be necessary. Respondents under the age of 55, men, residents of Alberta, and residents of Quebec were less likely to think that it would be necessary.

Figure 14. To what extent do you think it would be necessary or unnecessary to reintroduce public health measures in each of the following scenarios? [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 14. To what extent do you think it would be necessary or unnecessary to reintroduce public health measures in each of the following scenarios? [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Over half would support the reintroduction of many public health measures, if necessary

The majority of COSMO respondents indicated that they would support the introduction or reintroduction of many public health measures should they be required. The most supported measures included mask requirements (69%), proof-of-vaccination requirements (57-59%) and gathering limits (57%). The most opposed measures were business closures (54% opposition), school/daycare closures (46%) and stay-at-home orders (50%). Respondents aged 55+ and women were much more likely to support the hypothetical reintroduction of measures.

Figure 15. In the future, if the following public health measures had to be implemented or reintroduced to prevent a widespread outbreak, would you support them? [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 15. In the future, if the following public health measures had to be implemented or reintroduced to prevent a widespread outbreak, would you support them? [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Adult Vaccination

Over time, intentions to get a third dose have declined, while uptake of third doses has not increased

In Wave 2.4, 20% of respondents with two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine indicated that they are likely to get a third dose. Over time, intentions to get a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine have decreased, from 39% in February to 20% in August, while third dose uptake has not increased meaningfully.

Figure 16. If a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine was available and recommended for you, how likely would you be to get it? [Asked to respondents who had two doses of a COVID-19 (n=1278)]

 
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    Table 16. If a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine was available and recommended for you, how likely would you be to get it? [Asked to respondents who had two doses of a COVID-19 (n=1278)]

     

Many feel that third doses are not needed because they are not stopping the spread of COVID-19

Top reasons provided by respondents who have not yet received a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine were the perception that vaccines are not stopping the spread of COVID-19 so there is no point in getting one (48%) and the feeling that getting another vaccine is “not needed” (43%). Beyond these reasons, certain scenarios also may shape willingness to get a third dose.

Figure 17. Please explain why you have not received a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine so far. [Asked to respondents who had two doses of a COVID-19 (n=363)]

 
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    Table 17. Please explain why you have not received a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine so far. [Asked to respondents who had two doses of a COVID-19 (n=363)]

     

Some respondents with two doses may get a third dose in certain scenarios

The top scenarios that respondents with two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine indicated would make them more likely to get a third dose were: if proof of a third dose were required for activities like travel (38%); if a new vaccine were available that better prevented infection (36%); and, if a new more severe variant of COVID-19 began to spread (33%).

Figure 18. To what extent would each of the following hypothetical scenarios make you more or less likely to get a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine? [Asked to respondents who had two doses of a COVID-19 (n=363)]

 
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    Table 18. To what extent would each of the following hypothetical scenarios make you more or less likely to get a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine? [Asked to respondents who had two doses of a COVID-19 (n=363)]

     

Three quarters of those with three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine intend to get a fourth

Three quarters (76%) of respondents with three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine indicate that it is likely that they will get a fourth dose. Intentions to get a fourth dose have decreased slightly over time. However, this is likely explained by an increase in fourth dose uptake. Since the beginning of data collection in February, intentions to get a fourth dose (among those with three) have been much stronger than intentions to get a third dose (among those with two).

Figure 19. If a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine was available and recommended for you, how likely would you be to get it? [Asked to respondents who had three doses of a COVID-19 (n=898):]

 
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    Table 19. If a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine was available and recommended for you, how likely would you be to get it? [Asked to respondents who had three doses of a COVID-19 (n=898):]

     

New vaccines or the emergence of a more severe variant would motivate fourth dose uptake

The top scenarios that respondents with three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine indicated would make them more likely to get a fourth dose were: if a new vaccine were available that better prevented infection (77%) or targeted COVID-19 variants (74%); and, if a new more severe variant of COVID-19 emerged (73%).

Figure 20. To what extent would each of the following hypothetical scenarios make you more or less likely to get a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine? [Asked to respondents who had three doses of a COVID-19 (n=898):]

 
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    Table 20. To what extent would each of the following hypothetical scenarios make you more or less likely to get a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine? [Asked to respondents who had three doses of a COVID-19 (n=898):]

     

Those who are not yet vaccinated are highly unlikely to get a vaccine in the future

The vast majority of unvaccinated respondents (95%) indicated that they do not plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine. This finding has been consistent across waves of data collection since February 2022.

Figure 21. Will you get a COVID-19 vaccine? [Asked to respondents who had no doses of a COVID-19 (n=184)]

 
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    Table 21. Will you get a COVID-19 vaccine? [Asked to respondents who had no doses of a COVID-19 (n=184)]

     

The majority of respondents are unfamiliar with the term “bivalent vaccines”

Over half of respondents (54%) indicated that they are not at all familiar with bivalent COVID-19 vaccines. 21% indicated that they have heard the term but don’t know what it is and another 21% indicated that they were somewhat familiar with bivalent vaccines. Only 5% of respondents indicated that they are very familiar with bivalent vaccines.

Figure 22. How familiar are you with bivalent COVID-19 vaccines? [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 22. How familiar are you with bivalent COVID-19 vaccines? [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

One third of respondents with two doses say they would be likely to get a new vaccine that better protects against variants

Intentions to get new COVID-19 vaccine that better protects against variants of COVID-19 varied significantly by vaccination status. A high portion of unvaccinated respondents (89%) indicated that it was unlikely that they would get a new vaccine. 32% of those with two doses, 82% of those with three doses and 96% of those with four doses indicated that they would be likely to get a new vaccine that better protects against variants.

Figure 23. If a new vaccine that better protects people against different variants of COVID-19 becomes available and is recommended for you, how likely is it that you would get it? [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 23. If a new vaccine that better protects people against different variants of COVID-19 becomes available and is recommended for you, how likely is it that you would get it? [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Half of respondents plan to get a flu shot this year

Just over half of respondents (53%) indicated that they are likely to get a flu vaccine in the 2022-2023 season, while 41% indicated that they are unlikely to do so. Flu vaccine intentions varied significantly by COVID-19 vaccination status. Only 3% of respondents who are unvaccinated for COVID-19 indicated that they are likely to get a flu shot, while 16% of those with two doses, 63% of those with three doses and 81% of those with four doses indicated that they are likely to get a flu shot.

Figure 24. How likely are you to get a flu shot during the 2022-2023 flu season? [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 24. How likely are you to get a flu shot during the 2022-2023 flu season? [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Pediatric vaccination

41% of parents with children aged 12-17 with 2 doses intend to get their child a 3rd dose

Among parents with children aged 12-17 with two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, 41% indicated that they intend to get their child a third dose either right away or after some time. 36% indicated that they do not intend to get their child a third dose and 19% were unsure.

Figure 25. Thinking about your child(ren) aged 12-17, will they receive a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine? [Asked to respondents with at least one child aged 12-17 with two doses of a vaccine (n=121)]

 
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    Table 25. Thinking about your child(ren) aged 12-17, will they receive a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine? [Asked to respondents with at least one child aged 12-17 with two doses of a vaccine (n=121)]

     

Parents who have not yet vaccinated their children aged 5-11 do not intend to

94% of parents who have not yet vaccinated their children aged 5-11 indicate that they do not intend to.

Figure 26. Please indicate the extent to which you agree with the following statement: Now that a COVID-19 vaccine is recommended and available for my child(ren) aged 5-11, I will get them vaccinated. [Asked to respondents with at least one unvaccinated child aged 5-11 (n=95)]

 
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    Table 26. Please indicate the extent to which you agree with the following statement: Now that a COVID-19 vaccine is recommended and available for my child(ren) aged 5-11, I will get them vaccinated. [Asked to respondents with at least one unvaccinated child aged 5-11 (n=95)]

     

Two thirds of parents with children aged 5-11 with 2 doses of a vaccine intend to get their children a 3rd dose

65% of parents who have already vaccinated their children aged 5-11 intend to get their child a third dose either as soon as possible or after some time. 16% of parents in this group do not intend to get their child a third dose.

Figure 27. Thinking about your child(ren) aged 5-11, will they receive a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine if it is recommended? [Asked to respondents with at least one child aged 5-11 with two doses of a vaccine (n=102)]

 
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    Table 27. Thinking about your child(ren) aged 5-11, will they receive a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine if it is recommended? [Asked to respondents with at least one child aged 5-11 with two doses of a vaccine (n=102)]

     

Half of parents do not intend to vaccinate their children under the age of 5

44% of parents with children aged 6 months to 4 years indicated that they do not plan to vaccinate their child. 42% of parents with children in this age group intend to vaccinate their children aged 6 months to 4 years, either as soon as possible or after some time. Between waves 2.3 and 2.4, vaccines were approved for children in this age group. Between these waves, the portion of parents who do not intend to vaccinate their children decreased (from 52% to 44%). However, the portion who intend to vaccinate their children as soon as possible also decreased (31% to 25%), with an increase in those who want to wait a bit (8% to 17%).

Figure 28. Please indicate the extent to which you agree with the following statement: Now that a COVID-19 vaccine is recommended and available for my child(ren) aged 6 months to 4 years, I will get them vaccinated.* [Asked to respondents with at least one child aged 0-4 (n=153) *This question was updated in Wave 2.4 due to the approval of vaccines for children 6 months to 4 years. The N/A option was also added in Wave 2.4.]

 
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    Table 28. Please indicate the extent to which you agree with the following statement: Now that a COVID-19 vaccine is recommended and available for my child(ren) aged 6 months to 4 years, I will get them vaccinated.* [Asked to respondents with at least one child aged 0-4 (n=153) *This question was updated in Wave 2.4 due to the approval of vaccines for children 6 months to 4 years. The N/A option was also added in Wave 2.4.]

     

The sense that children are not at high-risk from COVID-19 may be a driver of low uptake

The top reasons provided by parents who were unsure or against vaccinating their children under the age of 12 were: the belief that vaccines are unnecessary for children because they are not at risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 (63%) The sense that the risks of vaccines outweigh their benefits (60%) thinking that not enough research or testing has been done (59%) thinking that there is not point in getting vaccines because they are not stopping the spread of COVID-19 (59%).

Figure 29. From the following options, which reasons best describe why you feel hesitant about your child/children under the age of 12 getting a COVID-19 vaccine? Please select all that apply. [Asked to parents who were unsure or against vaccinating at least one of their children under 12 (n=140)]

 
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    Table 29. From the following options, which reasons best describe why you feel hesitant about your child/children under the age of 12 getting a COVID-19 vaccine? Please select all that apply. [Asked to parents who were unsure or against vaccinating at least one of their children under 12 (n=140)]

     

Two thirds of parents report that their children have had COVID-19

68% of parents reported that their children have or likely have been infected with COVID-19 at some point in the pandemic. Relatedly, 66% of parents report that they have or likely have been infected themselves, compared to 44% of respondents without children at home.

Figure 30. Have any of your children been infected with COVID-19? [Asked to with at least one child at home (n=455)]

 
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    Table 30. Have any of your children been infected with COVID-19? [Asked to with at least one child at home (n=455)]

     

Worries about children being infected with COVID-19 have decreased over time

Worries about children being infected with COVID-19 have decreased since the beginning of data collection. In August only 11% of parents indicated that they were very or extremely worried about their children contracting COVID-19, compared to 25% in February. 22% of parents were somewhat worried and 67% reported being not at all or slightly worried about their children getting COVID-19.

Figure 31. How worried are you about your child(ren) contracting COVID-19? [Asked to with at least one child at home (n=455)]

 
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    Table 31. How worried are you about your child(ren) contracting COVID-19? [Asked to with at least one child at home (n=455)]

     

Sources of Information & Trust

The most trusted sources of information on COVID-19 are scientists and healthcare workers

The majority of respondents trust (4-5 out of a scale of 5) scientists (80%), healthcare workers (79%) and international health authorities (66%) for information on COVID-19. Trust in the federal government (62%) and provincial/territorial governments (60%) is also relatively high. Less than half of respondents reported trust in newspapers and other journalism and television news for information on COVID-19. There were no significant changes in trust in information sources between February and August 2022.

Figure 32. To what extent do you trust or distrust the following sources for information on COVID-19? [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 32. To what extent do you trust or distrust the following sources for information on COVID-19? [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

1 in 10 report following the news on COVID-19 very closely

Only 9% of COSMO respondents reported following the news about COVID-19 very closely and 22% reported following it pretty closely. One quarter of respondents reported not following the news about COVID-19 at all. Older respondents were more likely to report following the news about COVID-19.

Figure 33. How closely, if at all, have you been following news on COVID-19 over the past month? [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 33. How closely, if at all, have you been following news on COVID-19 over the past month? [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

COVID-19 news consumption has decreased over time

News consumption about COVID-19 decreased between April and June 2022 and remained relatively stable in August.

Figure 34. How closely, if at all, have you been following news on COVID-19 over the past month? [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 34. How closely, if at all, have you been following news on COVID-19 over the past month? [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Facebook and Youtube are the most used social media platforms

Respondents were more likely to report using Facebook (49%) and Youtube (38%) either ‘multiple times a day’ or ‘once a day’ compared to other social media platforms. Younger respondents (18-34) reported more frequent use of social media platforms.

Figure 35. In the past month, how often did you use each of the following platforms? [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 35. In the past month, how often did you use each of the following platforms? [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Half of respondents reported trusting the Government of Canada

51% of respondents reported completely or moderately trusting the Canadian federal government, while 38% reported moderate or complete distrust. Respondents aged 55+ were more likely to report trusting the federal government (55%) compared to those under 55 (48%). Women reported higher trust (56%) than men (45%). University educated respondents reported higher levels of trust (62%) than those with college (48%) or high school education (45%). Respondents from Alberta reported lower trust (36%) relative to other provinces.

Figure 36. Please indicate whether, in general, you trust or distrust the Canadian federal government. [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 36. Please indicate whether, in general, you trust or distrust the Canadian federal government. [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

COVID-19 Knowledge & Misinformation

The majority of respondents accurately rated the veracity of true statements about COVID-19

The majority of respondents accurately rated true statements about COVID-19 as somewhat/very accurate. However, some respondents rated true statements as inaccurate. For example, 23% of respondents indicated that the statement “current evidence suggests that COVID-19 vaccination does not affect male fertility” as somewhat or very inaccurate.

Figure 37. To the best of your knowledge, how accurate or inaccurate are the claims in each of the following statements? [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 37. To the best of your knowledge, how accurate or inaccurate are the claims in each of the following statements? [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

A minority of respondents indicated that false statements about COVID-19 were accurate

A minority of respondents indicated that false statements about COVID-19 were very accurate or somewhat accurate. These portions ranged between 3% and 30%, depending on the statement. For example, 11% of respondents rated the following statement as accurate or somewhat accurate: “COVID-19 vaccines have been linked to thousands of heart attacks in children.

Figure 38. To the best of your knowledge, how accurate or inaccurate are the claims in each of the following statements? [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 38. To the best of your knowledge, how accurate or inaccurate are the claims in each of the following statements? [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

The majority of respondents are concerned about the spread of misinformation

In Wave 2.4, 65% of respondents reported being very or extremely concerned about the spread of misinformation and disinformation online. Older respondents (68%) and those with a university education (70%) were more likely to report being very/extremely concerned.

Figure 39. How concerned are you about the spread of misinformation and disinformation online (i.e. news information about important topics that is verifiably false)? [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 39. How concerned are you about the spread of misinformation and disinformation online (i.e. news information about important topics that is verifiably false)? [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Mental Health & Wellbeing

Three quarters of respondents are satisfied with their lives

In Wave 2.4, 75% of respondents reported that they were satisfied with their lives as a whole. 6% were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied and 19% were dissatisfied. Life satisfaction increased slightly between June and August. Younger respondents (18-34) reported slightly lower life satisfaction (69%) compared to those aged 35-54 (75%) and those aged 55+ (78%).

Figure 40. All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole? [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 40. All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole? [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Three quarters of respondents report good mental and physical health

74% of respondents reported that their mental health is excellent, very good or good. Younger respondents were less likely to report good mental health compared to older respondents. Residents of Ontario were also less likely to report good mental health compared to other provinces. 71% of respondents reported that their physical health is excellent, very good or good. Women were slightly less likely than men to report good physical health.

Figure 41. In general, would you say your mental/physical health is: [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 41. In general, would you say your mental/physical health is: [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Young respondents are more likely to report negative wellbeing indicators

20% of respondents reported feeling stressed most or all of the time in the past two weeks. An additional 20% reported feeling burnt out most or all of the time. Younger respondents and women were more likely to report experiencing these negative indicators most or all of the time in the past two weeks.

Figure 42. In the past two weeks, how often have you felt… [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 42. In the past two weeks, how often have you felt… [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Pandemic Outlook & Recovery

A third of respondents are unsure whether the worst of the crisis has passed or is yet to come

In August, there was a decrease in the portion of respondents who indicated that the worst of the crisis is behind us (47%) compared to the previous wave of data collection in June (58%). There was also an increase in the portion that indicate they don’t know whether the worst is behind us or yet to come from June (22%) to August (33%). Consistent with previous waves of data collection, 10% of respondents indicate that they do not consider COVID-19 to be a crisis. Men (13%) were more likely than women (7%) to say that COVID-19 is not a crisis. Residents of Alberta were also more likely than residents of other provinces to think that COVID-19 is not a crisis.

Figure 43. Thinking of the COVID-19 pandemic, do you think the worst is behind us or to come? [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 43. Thinking of the COVID-19 pandemic, do you think the worst is behind us or to come? [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Cost-of-living and societal divisiveness are top-of-mind concerns

Two thirds of COSMO respondents (69%) indicated that they are worried about inflation or cost-of living increases (down from 79% in June). Respondents aged 55+ and residents of BC were less likely to be worried about inflation. 63% indicated that they are worried about increasing divisiveness and/or conflict in society. Respondents aged 18-34 and residents of Alberta were more likely to be worried about increasing divisiveness in society.

Figure 44. At the moment, how much do you worry about the following topics: [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 44. At the moment, how much do you worry about the following topics: [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Respondents remain concerned about the healthcare system being overloaded

59% of respondents report being very or extremely worried about the healthcare system being overloaded. Older respondents (66%) and women (67%) were more likely to be worried about the health system being overloaded. 40% of respondents were worried about the pandemic’s impact on the mental health of Canadians. Older respondents (30%) and men (36%) were less worried about mental health impacts.

Figure 45. At the moment, how much do you worry about the following topics: [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 45. At the moment, how much do you worry about the following topics: [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Most COVID-related worries have declined over time

Over time, most health-related worries have declined. However, between June and August, there was an increase in the portion of respondents worried about the healthcare system being overloaded (from 52% to 59%).

Figure 46. At the moment, how much do you worry about the following health-related topics: [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 46. At the moment, how much do you worry about the following health-related topics: [Asked all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Two thirds of respondents are expecting another wave of COVID-19 cases

69% of COSMO respondents think that there will be another wave of COVID-19 cases in the Fall or Winter. 11% think that there will not be another wave of COVID-19 and 20% are unsure. Respondents aged 18-34 were less likely to think that there will be another wave (64%), as were unvaccinated respondents (41%).

Figure 47. Do you think that there will be another wave of COVID-19 cases in the Fall/Winter (September 2022-February 2023)? [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

 
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    Table 47. Do you think that there will be another wave of COVID-19 cases in the Fall/Winter (September 2022-February 2023)? [Asked to all respondents (n=2,000)]

     

Respondents think the next wave will be equally or less severe than previous waves

Among respondents who think there will be another wave of COVID-19 (69% of the sample), 34% think that the next wave will be less severe than previous waves, 34% think it will be about the same, and 21% are unsure. 11% think that the next wave will be more severe than previous waves. Men (39%), respondents aged 18-34 (41%) and residents of Alberta (41%) were more likely to think that the next wave will be less severe.

Figure 48. Do you think that the next wave will be more severe or less severe than previous waves of COVID-19? [Asked to respondents who think there will be another wave of COVD in the fall/winter (n=1775)]

 
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    Table 48. Do you think that the next wave will be more severe or less severe than previous waves of COVID-19? [Asked to respondents who think there will be another wave of COVD in the fall/winter (n=1775)]

     

Next steps

The Impact Canada Behavioural Science team will use a series of statistical analyses to look for patterns in the data, allowing us to answer questions like:

  • How do intentions to vaccinate change over time?
  • How do changes in trust in government information sources affect changes in intentions to vaccinate over time?
  • How do individual-level characteristics (e.g., gender, baseline knowledge or anxiety, infection status) affect changes in intentions to vaccinate over time?
  • How do interactions between gender and trust in government information sources affect changes in intentions to vaccinate over time?

Contact us

To learn more or explore working with us, please contact the Impact and Innovation Unit of the Privy Council Office.

Email us