About a quarter of British Columbians who haven’t got their jab yet are suffering from vaccine envy and a quarter are suffering anxiety while they wait for their vaccine

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About a quarter of British Columbians who haven’t got their jab yet are suffering from vaccine envy and a quarter are suffering anxiety while they await their turn, according to a new poll on vaccines.

And a majority of respondents in B.C. support the idea of outsiders and even other locals carrying a vaccine certificate to prove they’re protected from COVID-19, the poll shows.

The new Leger poll also shows that 16 per cent of British Columbians have been vaccinated, a percentage that rose to 25 per cent for those 55 and older.

Of respondents not yet offered a vaccination, generally those under 55, one-quarter say they believe they should already have received their jabs and one-quarter are feeling “jealous” or “anxious” that “others are getting vaccinated before I am.”

The poll, conducted for Postmedia, also found strong support for vaccine “passports” for travellers. About 77 per cent supported asking visitors coming to B.C. from abroad to provide proof of vaccination. And 75 per cent believe B.C. residents should show proof before travelling abroad.

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A majority also supported passports for domestic travel.

A majority of respondents, 73 per cent, agreed with the view that “those who choose not to get vaccinated are creating issues for the broader community.” Agreement with that statement was higher among those vaccinated, at 88 per cent, and among those 55 and older, at 79 per cent.

The requirement for proof of vaccines to travel to certain countries is not new, said Dr. Judy Iles, professor of neurology at UBC. They are common for vaccinations against typhoid, malaria and smallpox.

“It’s unsurprising that the public supports it,” she said.

She said “passports” is not the right word for proof of vaccination, as if it confers rights of passage, and they instead should be called certifications.

And she said with the exception of high-risk sites, such as long-term care homes and hospitals, where it would be “ethically appropriate” to require visitors be vaccinated, proof of a jab shouldn’t be required for individuals to attend restaurants, concerts or other large group events.

She said people should choose to be vaccinated before attending public events during a pandemic. But policing that shouldn’t rest with the ticket takers, she said.

“If you don’t want to be vaccinated, don’t go to the concert,” she said. “The ethical imperative rests with the individual attending the event.”

A new report by the chief science adviser of Canada, released Friday, said any such certificates have to take into account the efficacy of the various vaccines, standardization, whether the certifications would be recognized in home countries and abroad, fraud prevention and privacy issues.

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Certificates “could create a ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ dynamic between those who are vaccinated and those who are not and lead to tensions among communities,” the report said.

There may be historical reasons why some communities don’t vaccinate, and it could “apply the already disproportionate impact of the pandemic on these groups.”

The poll also shows less than half of respondents (44 per cent) were satisfied with the pace of the vaccine rollout.

And support since December for B.C. provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has dropped to 65 per cent from 79 per cent, for Health Minister Adrian Dix to 58 per cent from 72 per cent, and for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to 45 per cent from 61 per cent, it said.

The online survey of 1,004 B.C. residents was conducted April 2 to 4. No margin of error can be associated with such a non-probability sample. But a probability sample of 1,004 respondents would have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20, according to Leger.


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