Canada’s Quebec plans health tax for residents who refuse COVID-19 vaccine -premier

People wait in line in Olympic Stadium for their coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine as Quebec begins vaccinations for seniors in Montreal, Canada March 1, 2021. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

Jan 11 (Reuters) – Quebec, Canada’s second-most populous province, is working on a plan to require a “health contribution” from adults who refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccination for non-medical reasons, Premier Francois Legault said on Tuesday.

Legault said that unvaccinated people put a financial burden on vaccinated residents and in addition to finalizing the amount to be charged, the province is also working on the legal aspect of such a levy, he said.

“The vaccine is the key to fight the virus. This is why we’re looking for a health contribution for adults who refuse to be vaccinated for non-medical reasons,” Legault told reporters at a briefing.

Hospitals in Quebec are stretched after the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant brought in more COVID-19 patients and took healthcare workers off their jobs.

He saidthat even though the province has about 10% unvaccinated people, they account for about 50% of those in intensive care units.

People who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons would be exempt under the proposal, Legault said.

Last month, Quebec said it had “no choice” but to allow some essential workers to continue working even after testing positive for COVID-19 to prevent staff shortages from impeding its healthcare services. It has also imposed curbs on gathering.

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