Andrej Ivanov /AFP through Getty Pictures
Quebec’s plan to place a “important” well being tax on unvaccinated individuals — who account for a big share of COVID-19 hospitalizations — rapidly drove a rush of recent appointments this week, well being officers say.
“It is encouraging!” mentioned Quebec Well being Minister Christian Dubé, in a tweet saying the brand new features.
Dubé mentioned the variety of new vaccine appointments shot up within the 48 hours across the announcement, reaching what he referred to as a file for a number of days.
Quebec has reported essentially the most COVID-19 deaths of any Canadian province, with greater than 12,000 individuals shedding their lives. With omicron driving new infections, officers just lately ordered college closures and a ten p.m. curfew.
When Quebec Premier Francois Legault introduced the plan for a levy on the unvaccinated, he mentioned that solely round 10% of Quebec’s inhabitants is unvaccinated however that they make up 50% of all intensive care instances.
Well being officers additionally famous that the common price of a COVID-19 case in hospital is $23,000 Canadian. For intensive care, the associated fee rises to $50,000.
The premier says he owes it to the vaccinated inhabitants
“Those that refuse to get their first doses within the coming weeks should pay a brand new well being contribution,” Legault mentioned Tuesday. “The bulk are asking that there be penalties. … It is a query of equity for the 90% of the inhabitants which have made some sacrifices. We owe them.”
The well being penalty wouldn’t apply to individuals with professional medical exemptions, Legault mentioned. He hasn’t given a date for when the penalty will probably be enacted.
Legault mentioned late Wednesday that Quebec’s faculties and faculties at the moment are cleared to reopen on Monday. There are additionally reviews that the curfew will probably be lifted on the identical day.
The tax is only one technique to spice up vaccination charges
Quebec has been making an attempt to boost vaccination charges in quite a few methods — together with requiring a vaccine passport for anybody who desires to go to a liquor or hashish retailer. Within the province, roughly 90% of its eligible inhabitants has obtained not less than one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, in accordance with Canada’s COVID-19 tracker.
In one other signal of the fallout over vaccines within the province, a choose just lately quickly suspended a father’s visitation rights to see his little one as a result of he’s unvaccinated.
The particular well being tax instantly stirred controversy amongst vaccine skeptics and civil rights teams, who query whether or not it is authorized and the way it could be pretty enforced. When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was requested about Quebec’s plan on Wednesday, he mentioned it was too quickly to touch upon it.