VANCOUVER -- A majority of Canadians would get a vaccine for COVID-19 but not necessarily right away, a new survey suggests.

The survey conducted by the Angus Reid Institute looked at Canadians' willingness to get a vaccine for the coronavirus and when they think life might return to normal.

Forty-six per cent of respondents said they would get a coronavirus vaccine as soon as one became available, while 32 per cent said they would eventually get one but would wait awhile.

"One characteristic that divides these two groups is worry over potential side effects from a new and potentially quickly developed immunization," Angus Reid said in a statement.

"The majority of those who say they will wait to get the vaccine also say they are worried about side effects (76 per cent.) By contrast, among those who are eager to get it, half as many (37 per cent) carry that concern."

Fourteen per cent said they would not get a vaccine, and eight per cent were unsure.

Three in five people surveyed said they were worried about the side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Seventy-five per cent of Canadians surveyed said they don't believe life in their communities will go back to normal until most people are vaccinated.

That percentage rises to 81 per cent among British Columbians surveyed, but drops to 64 per cent among residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

"This regional division may be partially explained by urban-rural population splits in some provinces," Angus Reid said. "Fewer Canadians living in rural areas say their part of the country will not be back to what it was until a vaccine is found and distributed, compared to those living in urban settings."

A majority of Canadians believe a coronavirus vaccine will be available relatively soon, with 62 per cent of respondents saying they believe one will be widely available to the public sometime in 2021.

Just seven per cent of respondents believe one will be ready before the end of 2020, and four per cent said they don't believe there will ever be a vaccine. Sixteen per cent don't believe one will be ready until 2022 or later, and 10 per cent didn't know or couldn't say.

The survey results come as an adjunct professor in the infectious disease department at UBC warns a vaccine for the virus is still at least a year away. Horacio Bach told CTV News even if companies can develop vaccines quickly, it would still take time to test if they are effective.

And Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Tuesday health officials are preparing to deal with the presence and prevention of further spread of the coronavirus for years, whether a vaccine exists or not.

The online survey was conducted from July 23 to 24, 2020, among a representative randomized sample of 1,519 Canadian adults who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. It contains a margin of error plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.