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Poll: Most wouldn't pay for a national-scale H5N1 vaccination

Should the feds write a big cheque and order enough H5N1 vaccine for the whole country, and get the production lines moving now? In an online poll this week and last, most of you said no
20210406 covid vaccination Bud Colby, 80(1)
80 year old Bud Colby gets his vaccination. Courtesy NBPSHU

We could all be excused for deciding that we have had enough pandemics for now, and are entitled to a very, very long break from them. 

Nature, unfortunately doesn't work that way. 

The influenza strain H5N1 has moved from birds to cattle in nine U.S. states, and traces of the virus — made harmless by pasteurization — have been found in milk. It seems to have spread from cattle to humans in a small number of known cases, but not between humans (yet, as far as we know). 

Influenza is nothing to mess with: the 1918 global outbreak killed more people than the First World War. 

Should we be worried? The danger seems to be that H5N1 could evolve in such a way that it's transmitted between people. The head of the influenza division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said recently that "the risk could be quite big," and that she is " ... not sleeping very much right now." 

Canada has no national stockpile of H5N1 vaccine, though plans are in place to produce one if needed. That could take six months, though, and as we found in 2020, disease can move a lot faster than that. 

Given the danger, should the feds write a big cheque, order enough H5N1 vaccine for the whole country, and get the production lines moving now? In an online poll this week and last, most of you said no.

Women were more in favour of the idea than men:

And in general, the older the reader, the more it seemed like a good idea:

University graduates tended to be more in favour:

Especially at the ends of the graph showing strong feeling, support or opposition to a vaccine order associates strongly with feelings about Poilievre and Trudeau:

And a strong association with political affiliation:

One of the strongest associations, maybe not surprisingly, centres on a cautious attitude to COVID:

Next, three questions that speak to things involving the body that might bring pleasure, but also the possibility of danger and/or stigma: tobacco, cannabis, tattoos. Openness to then correlates to some extent with opposition to a vaccine buy (perhaps mildly in the case of tobacco):

There also seems to be some kind of negative association between wanting to green-light mass vaccination and identification with traditional sports culture, broadly:

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Patrick Cain

About the Author: Patrick Cain

Patrick is an online writer and editor in Toronto, focused mostly on data, FOI, maps and visualizations. He has won some awards, been a beat reporter covering digital privacy and cannabis, and started an FOI case that ended in the Supreme Court
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