Canadians and Americans Agree on Vaccinations for Children

Majorities in both countries believe individuals should decide if they want to get immunized against seasonal diseases.

Vancouver, BC [February 14, 2020] – While four-in-five Canadians endorse the concept of mandatory inoculations for children, the proportion of Americans who feel the same way is smaller, a new two-country Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of representative national samples, 81% of Canadians—up three points since a similar study conducted in 2018—believe that vaccinations for children should “definitely” or “probably” be mandatory in their province.

The proportion of Americans who think immunizations for children should “definitely” or “probably” be mandatory in their state is lower (68%).

“More than one-in-four Americans (27%) believe decisions on childhood vaccinations should be made by parents,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “The proportion of Canadians who would follow this course of action is decidedly lower (12%).”

In Canada, Quebec has the highest proportion of residents (17%) who believe parents should choose whether their children should be vaccinated. In the United States, 30% of residents of the South and the West feel the same way.

When asked about inoculations and seasonal diseases (such as the flu), slim majorities of Canadians and Americans (51% in each country) believe each person should “definitely” or “probably” be allowed to decide whether they want to get vaccinated or not.

Just over two-in-five respondents in each country (44% in Canada and 43% in the United States) feel the flu vaccine should be mandatory for everybody in their province or state.

In the late 1990s, a study published in the weekly medical journal The Lancet—which has since been discredited and retracted—attempted to link childhood vaccination and autism.

In Canada, 26% of respondents to this survey think there is a connection between the childhood vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella and autism. The proportion of Americans who believe this is slightly higher, at 30%.

Respondents aged 18-to-34 in both countries (36% in Canada and 43% in the United States) are more likely to believe in the debunked connection between childhood immunization and autism than their older counterparts.


Results are based on an online study conducted from February 7 to February 9, 2020, among 1,000 Canadian adults, and an online study conducted from February 6 to February 8, 2020, among 1,000 American adults. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian and U.S. census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points for each study, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full Canadian dataset here, our full American dataset here and download the press release here.

Photo Credit: John Keith

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.