Provinces Could Make Vaccination Mandatory, Federal Health Minister Says

Provinces are expected to introduce mandatory vaccination policies in the coming months to deal with the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said today.

“What we are seeing now is that our health care system in Canada is fragile, our people are tired, and the only way we know to get through COVID-19, this variant and any future variant, is vaccination,” said Duclos.

Duclos said that while rapid testing, masking and social distancing are useful tools, they won’t end the pandemic on their own.

“Fifty percent of hospitalizations currently in Quebec are due to people who have not been vaccinated,” he said. “It is a burden on healthcare workers, a burden on society that is very difficult to bear and for many people difficult to understand.

“That is why I am pointing out that this is a conversation that I believe the provinces and territories, in support of the federal government, will want to have over the next few weeks and months.”

Duclos said that although discussions on mandatory vaccination policies are not currently taking place, he believes that based on his “personal understanding of what we are seeing internationally and nationally and in my conversations [with] ministers of health in recent weeks, “the discussion will begin in the weeks or months to come.

He stressed that it was up to the provinces to decide whether or not to implement mandatory vaccination policies.

Look: The Minister of Health predicts that the provinces will make vaccination compulsory “at some point”:

Health Minister predicts provinces will make vaccination mandatory “at some point”

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says he personally thinks that “at some point” vaccines will become mandatory across the country in order to get Canada out of the pandemic. 1:34

Duclos said the provinces are facing a perfect storm of record case numbers, a shortage of healthcare workers and up to seven million eligible Canadians still unvaccinated.

“What we can do… is provide vaccines, tests, personal protective equipment,” he said. “We can provide tracing support, we can provide all kinds of other types of non-human resource assistance.”

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc has said there are limits to what the federal government can do to alleviate health worker shortages.

“It’s no surprise that provincial and territorial governments have far more human resources for health, for example, than the Government of Canada,” he said.

Quebec and Europe strengthen their vaccine policies

Earlier this week, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé announced that Quebecers will have to prove that they are fully vaccinated to enter government-run alcohol and cannabis stores starting January 18.

Dubé said half of people with COVID-19 admitted to intensive care units across the province are not vaccinated and the new restrictions are needed to slow hospital admissions.

The minister also said the Quebec government will soon expand the use of the vaccination passport to other non-essential businesses, such as personal care services. This announcement is expected in the coming days.

“By limiting where they can go, we are limiting their contact,” Dubé said, referring to the unvaccinated.

“If you don’t want to get the shot, stay home.”

Protesters against COVID-19 measures in Vienna on November 20. European countries such as Austria and Greece are moving towards national immunization mandates as they see infection rates three times higher than at any time during the pandemic and vaccination programs. have stalled. (Leonhard Foeger / Reuters)

Some European countries, such as Austria and Greece, have already moved in this direction as infection rates hit record highs and vaccination campaigns stalled.

Greeks over 60 who have not yet been vaccinated are now liable to monthly fines of 100 euros (CAN $ 140). Austria, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the European Union, plans to impose a fine of more than 7,000 euros ($ 9,880) on unvaccinated Austrians. Slovakia, meanwhile, is offering payments of 600 euros ($ 844) to encourage people to get vaccinated.

There are signs that enforcing these new vaccine rules will be a challenge. At the end of November, around 40,000 people gathered in Vienna to protest against the new rules.

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