Poll finds strong support for vaccine passports for children
Support for requiring COVID-19 vaccination to attend school came in at 64 per cent among people with children at home
OTTAWA – A COVID-19 vaccine for children is expected to be approved by Health Canada Friday, leaving provincial governments with the thorny issue of whether vaccine passports will be mandated for children.
A new Leger/Postmedia poll found Ontario residents are on board with having the vaccine passport system that applies now for restaurants and movie theatres apply to children. The poll found 64 per cent of respondents either strongly or somewhat supported such a measure with 26 per cent opposed..
Andrew Enns, vice-president with Leger, said the results were similar, but not quite as supportive, as vaccine mandates for adults, which generally had support in the high 70s or low 80s.
“We do lose a little bit when you start to apply the vaccine passport to children,” he said. “They’re a little bit cautious about signing on to like a passport program for kids, because now they may look at it (and go), ‘Well. I’m not sure I’m gonna get my five-year-old vaccinated’.”
Enns also asked respondents in the poll if they would support a vaccine mandate to allow children to attend school. In that survey 68 per cent of people supported a mandate and 23 per cent opposed it.
Support for requiring COVID-19 vaccination to attend school was higher at 70 per cent among people without children in their household, than it was among people with children at home where it still came in at 64 per cent.
The survey only looked at people in Ontario, but Enns said he expected the results would be similar across most of the country. It had a sample size of 1,001 people collected through the company’s online panel and was done between Nov. 12 and Nov. 14.
Despite the public support for a vaccine mandate for class, provinces don’t appear to be planning for one, with most provinces having ruled it out. Even high school students, most of whom are already eligible for the vaccine, are not required to get it to attend class.
Alberta’s Education Minister Adriana LaGrange wrote a letter to school boards Wednesday cautioning them to remember they are obliged to provide an education regardless of status.
“While I have always strongly encouraged everyone who is eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccine, I must reiterate that every child in Alberta is entitled to have access to an education program,” she wrote.
“I take very seriously the responsibility of providing access to education for all students in our province. School authorities cannot deny their students access to education due to their immunization status.”
Kerry Bowman, a bioethicist at the University of Toronto, said the argument for vaccinating children was not the same as adults, because they were at much less risk from COVID-19.