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Quebec, Canada’s second most populous province, announced on Tuesday that adult residents who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 will face a financial penalty.
The amount hasn’t been decided yet, but it will be “significant” and more than $100. More details will be released at a later date, The Associated Press reported.
“Those who refuse to get their first doses in the coming weeks will have to pay a new health contribution,” Premier Francois Legault said during a news conference.
Not getting vaccinated burdens the health care system, and not all residents should pay for it, he said. About 10% of adults in Quebec are unvaccinated, but they represent about 50% of intensive care patients.
“I think it’s reasonable a majority of the population is asking that there be consequences,” he said. “It’s a question of fairness for the 90% of the population that have made some sacrifices. We owe them.”
The fine will apply to those who don’t qualify for a medical exemption, Legault said.
Provinces across Canada have reported a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant, with Quebec being one of the hardest-hit, according to Reuters. The province is regularly recording the highest daily case count across the country.
Quebec has also announced a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, the AP reported. Starting Jan. 18, liquor and cannabis stores in the province will require proof of vaccination, and shopping malls and hair salons could soon require them as well.
About a quarter of all Canadians live in Quebec, according to CNN. The province was one of the first in Canada to require proof of vaccination for residents to eat in restaurants, go to the gym, or attend sporting events.
Some European countries have announced fees for unvaccinated residents, the AP reported, but Quebec is the first in Canada to announce a financial penalty for those who don’t get a shot.
In Greece, people older than 60 have until Sunday to receive the first dose, or they will be fined 100 euros for every month they remain unvaccinated, the AP reported.
Austria will also impose fines up to 3,600 euros for those who don’t follow the vaccine mandate for ages 14 and older, which is slated to start in February.
In Italy, residents who are 50 and older are required to be vaccinated. In mid-February, those who are unvaccinated could be fined up to 1,600 euros if they enter their workplaces, the AP reported.
The Associated Press: “Quebec to levy financial penalty on unvaccinated adults.”
Twitter: @FrancoisLegault, Jan. 11, 2022.
Reuters: “No vax, pay tax, says Canada’s Quebec as health system struggles.”
CNN: “Quebec to impose a ‘significant’ fine on unvaccinated residents.”