Leaders of Quebec, Canada, are planning to impose a tax on adults within the province who refuse to get vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 for non-medical reasons, Quebec Premier François Legault introduced Tuesday. The tax, he mentioned, is a “consequence” for unvaccinated individuals who “put a very important burden on our health care network.”
Legault mentioned the choice comes because the province continues to see a rise in hospitalizations.
“If you look at what’s happening in other countries or other states, everyone is trying to find the solution,” he mentioned. “…Right now, these people, they put a very important burden on our health care network. And I think it’s normal the majority of the population is asking that there be a consequence.”
Quebec has been hit the toughest of Canada’s provinces and territories, in accordance to the nation’s authorities. There have been almost 93,000 formally reported circumstances within the province within the final seven days, in accordance to the federal government’s database, and 247 deaths.
Roughly 92% of individuals in Quebec ages 12 and older has obtained a minimum of one dose of COVID vaccine, in accordance to the province’s health data. Vaccination, Legault mentioned, is the “key to fight the virus.”
“This is why we’re looking for a health care contribution for adults who refuse to be vaccinated for non-medical reasons. Those who refuse to receive their first dose in the coming weeks will have to pay a new health contribution,” he mentioned. “I know the situation is tough, but we can get through this together.”
The quantity of the tax has not but been determined, Legault mentioned in a Facebook put up explaining the choice, “but it will be a significant amount.”
The tax is simply the most recent measure put in place to attempt to curb the unfold of the virus in Quebec. The province has additionally mandated remote work for any position that can permit it, canceled sports activities and extracurricular actions in faculties, closed secondary faculties, restricted retailer and restaurant capacities, and restricted non-public gatherings, amongst different issues. There can be a curfew in place from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Quebec additionally has a vaccine passport system that enables those aged 13 and up who are “adequately protected” in opposition to COVID to entry sure locations for non-essential actions. But Legault mentioned, “We have to go further.”
“Right now, it’s a question also of fairness for the 90% of the population who made some sacrifices,” he mentioned. “I think we owe them this kind of measure.”
Legault tweeted in French that unvaccinated adults symbolize 10% of the inhabitants however half of COVID hospitalizations in intensive care.
The announcement got here a day after the province’s well being director, Dr. Horacio Arruda, resigned from his position, which he held for greater than a decade, in accordance to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Arruda stepped down within the wake of elevated criticism over officers’ pandemic response.
Arruda was criticized for supporting indoor gatherings of up to 20 individuals by the vacation season, in accordance to CBC, and for not offering proof for the advantages of the brand new in a single day curfew.
Days earlier than his departure, the province introduced that PCR testing hit such a excessive demand that the Ministry of Health and Social Services halted PCR testing for most people. As of January 4, exams have been prioritized for those deemed most at-risk of an infection, together with those in hospitals and different well being care amenities, those in detention facilities, and other people in First Nations and Inuit communities. Those who are symptomatic however do not get precedence are permitted to use fast exams obtainable in pharmacies, and have been urged to isolate.
Legault mentioned Tuesday that regardless of the criticism, he stands by Arruda’s steerage all through the pandemic.
“The recommendations he made with the information he had when he made those recommendations, I think that it was coming from after consulting other experts,” Legault mentioned. “There are some advantages to somebody new after 22 months because it’s a very heavy burden to have.”
Li Cohen is a social media producer and trending reporter for CBS News, focusing on social justice points.