By: Thomas I. Likness
Eagle News Service
(Eagle News) — Quebec residents who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will be hit in the pocketbook, Premier Francois Legault announced Tuesday.
“Those who refuse to receive their first dose in the coming weeks will have to pay a new health contribution,” said Legault.
The size of the penalty has not been determined.
He says it’s a question of fairness for the 90% of the province’s population who have been vaccinated, adding the unvaccinated are stressing the province’s hospitals.
“Right now, these people, they put a very important burden on our health-care network,” said Legault. “And I think it’s normal that the majority of the population is asking that there be a consequence.”
Health officials suggest that although 10% of Quebecers are not immunized against COVID-19, they account for about half the hospital admissions for the infection.
As those hospital beds fill up with Covid patients, other medical procedures are being delayed.
Hospitals are also faced with staff shortages.
The legality of the penalty has not been determined and antivaxxers have said they will challenge it in court.
Quebec’s move comes just days after Canada’s federal health minister mused about making vaccines mandatory. Last week, Jean-Yves Duclos told a news conference he believed COVID-19 immunization would become mandatory like it is in several European countries.
(Eagle News Service)