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Survey shows fracture between those who have COVID-19 shots and those who don't: Sask. health expert

Saskatoon -

More than half of Canadians agree with mandatory vaccinations for people who can be vaccinated to stop the spread of COVID-19 variants, according to a new poll from Nanos Research.

One of those against it is 76-year old Saskatoon resident Joseph Kennedy.

"I think mandatory vaccines would be an extremely dangerous place to go," said Kennedy. "A contradictory of very basic human rights."

Kennedy himself is not vaccinated and says he wants to gather more information before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

The poll, commissioned by CTV News, shows 53 per cent support the premise of mandatory vaccines, another 21 per cent somewhat support it, while 16 per cent oppose it, eight per cent somewhat oppose it, and two per cent remain unsure.

"I greatly support or support a mandatory vaccine strategy or policy right now," epidemiologist Nazeem Muhajarine told CTV News.

"We are seeing our numbers rising, particularly in provinces like BC, Alberta and southern Saskatchewan."

Over 81 per cent of people 12 and over in Canada have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Saskatchewan is currently sitting at 74 per cent

Muhajarine worries people who aren't vaccinated will be attending events happening this weekend, like the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival and the Saskatchewan Roughriders home opener at Mosaic Stadium.

He says the Nanos poll highlights a divide between people who are vaccinated and want to be protected from those who aren't.

"Tells me where people are, how people kind of really think that maybe we need to make sure that people who are fully vaccinated and people who are unvaccinated separate," said Muhajarine. "We cannot let intermingling happen."

Muhajarine recommends people attending large events like the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival wear a mask.

He suggests vaccine passports are another avenue provincial and federal governments could pursue is to incentivize individuals to get their jabs.

"It's not a population-wide mandate that is been, you know, referenced here, it is selective measure which allow most people who are fully vaccinated to take advantage of the things that they want to do," said Muhajarine.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says t Ottawa is considering mandatory vaccination in federal workplaces or in federally regulated industries such as banking, rail and air travel.

Not all medical experts are on-board with the idea of the mandatory vaccines.

"No, I'm not in favour of mandatory vaccination that strikes me as a pretty dire alternative," Arthur Schafer Medical Ethics professor at the University of Manitoba

"It would mean society is telling people that they have got to put a drug into their bodies. It would be a major limitation on the freedom of the individual."

Schafer feels the country is not at a point where it needs to consider mandatory vaccines but he is very open to vaccine passports for people to access restaurants, gyms and post-secondary institutions.

"I think it would be much better if the government designed a passport that protected your privacy and was secure that couldn't be easily forged and provided guidelines so that people can know what to expect,"

Nanos conducted a landline and cellular telephone and online random survey of 1,002 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between July 30 and August 2, 2021 as part of an omnibus survey.

The margin of error for the survey is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Top Stories

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