Quebec is going to start imposing a “health care contribution” on adults who refuse to get vaccinated for COVID-19, the province’s Premier said Tuesday.
François Legault announced the measure as he spoke at a news conference on the resignation, this week, of Quebec’s high-profile Public Health Director, Horacio Arruda. The Premier said the cost will apply to Quebeckers who do not get a first dose.
Mr. Legault said his government is working through the legalities and logistics of the measure, which he described as a “health care contribution.”
“As to the amount, we want a significant amount. Fifty dollars or $100 is not significant, but we have yet to set an amount,” said the Premier.
Mr. Legault said Quebeckers are becoming exasperated with the 10 per cent of the population refusing to be vaccinated even though they have no medical issue to justify their decision.
“Right now , these people, they put a very important burden on our health care network, and I think it’s normal that the majority of the population is asking that there be a consequence,” he said.
He said the unvaccinated account for 50 per cent of the people in intensive care and they are putting an undue burden on health care.
Quebec is facing the consequences of a surge in COVID-19 cases linked to the more transmissible Omicron variant.
On Tuesday, Quebec reported 62 additional deaths linked to COVID-19, meaning 12,028 people have been killed by the novel coronavirus, the most among provinces and territories. Hospitalizations linked to the virus rose by 188 to 2,742.
Dr. Arruda’s replacement said it was too soon to comment on the health care contribution measure.
“I will let the exercise unfold,” said Luc Boileau, who has been president of the l’Institut national d’excellence en santé et services sociaux, which promotes clinical excellence and the efficient use of resources in the health and social services sector.
He added that he will wait to see if the science supports the measure, and that he has other more pressing concerns to consider.
In a resignation letter dated Monday, Dr. Arruda wrote that his office had offered public-health opinions and recommendations amid uncertainty and based on the best available knowledge and various expert opinions. However, he acknowledged there was a “certain erosion” in public support for health measures. There’s a story here on his exit.
“I think that he did excellent work for 22 months,” said Mr. Legault, adding he hoped Dr. Arruda would be available for advice after taking a rest.
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THIS AND THAT
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Thomas Mulcair (CTV News.ca) on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau starting to apply the French President Emmanuel Macron formula: “The contrast between Trudeau’s Health Minister and Conservative Leader O’Toole couldn’t be sharper. It also makes it abundantly clear that politics is still playing a key role in the management of what should exclusively be a health issue. [Health Minister Jean-Yves] Duclos is too smart and experienced not to know that obligatory vaccination is a non-starter. You’d have to be able to enforce it. With what resources? The Army? Duclos was simply redrawing the ideological line in the sand with their principal opponent. His subtext: We’re willing to do everything that we can to end this thing, O’Toole would make it worse.”
Sarath Peiris (Saskatoon StarPhoenix) on Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe steering the province into uncharted waters: “Trying to get through the COVID-19 pandemic with Premier Scott Moe is like finding yourself in a storm-tossed boat at night with a helmsman who refuses to heed navigation instruments as he relies instead on a buddy yelling out directions based on his “gut feel.” It didn’t take the Premier more than a few months after the pandemic’s 2020 arrival to decide that – evidence-based advice from doctors, epidemiologists and other experts be damned – he would forge ahead by focusing on those who touted prioritizing economic health above all.”
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