Vaccination in a pandemic: The impact on routine vaccinations and future COVID‑19 vaccine acceptance
Canadians are asking: During the pandemic, should my children or myself receive our regular vaccines? Is it safe to go to my vaccination appointment? Could COVID‑19 make me seriously ill? Will new COVID‑19 vaccines be safe, since they are being made so quickly? Will there be enough COVID‑19 vaccines for everyone? Like everyone else in the world, Canadians face many concerns about COVID-19, and Canadian health care systems are grappling with the direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic. Physical distancing measures that have been put in place to reduce spread of COVID‑19 have led to challenges in providing, and accessing, routine vaccines for all ages, such as those for measles or meningitis. At the same time, one of the primary options for containment of the pandemic is through future COVID‑19 vaccines. However, public acceptance of COVID‑19 vaccines is already being questioned in the media, and initial vaccine shortages will require prioritization of who receives the vaccine first. An understanding of Canadians’ acceptance of future vaccines and their perspectives on vaccine prioritization will be critical before vaccines are rolled-out. The aim of this project is to support the public health system in these tasks. We will begin by assessing how provincial and territorial health systems are delivering routine vaccinations during the pandemic, examining what the public think about routine vaccines during this time, and then measuring whether less/more people are getting vaccinated with routine vaccines during the pandemic. Second, since population support for a vaccination program is critical to its success, we will examine public acceptability of new COVID‑19 vaccines and the determinants of acceptability. The project will provide Canada’s public health system with essential information to organize the distribution of routine vaccines during the pandemic and to prepare for the inevitable COVID‑19 mass vaccination program that is on the horizon.