COVID-19 Latest: According to Canadain’s Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, mandatory vaccinations will happen in Canada. The health minister added that it was a matter for the provinces, but he believed compulsory vaccination would happen.
At a press conference on Friday, January 7, Duclos said the only way out of the current crisis was vaccination, despite the other tools such as masking and testing.
When asked about mandatory vaccination, he spoke in French, saying, “I think we will get there at some point.” He also added saying “I see it coming personally. I don’t think we are there yet. Not now. But I think decisions need to be had about mandatory vaccinations because we have to get rid of Covid 19.”
Duclos spoke the day after Conservative leader Erin O’Toole said that Canadians unwilling to be vaccinated against COVID-19 should be accommodated through measures such as rapid testing.
“There is going to be as much as 15 percent of the population that is not vaccinated,” he said.
“In some cases, you will have to try and find reasonable accommodations between keeping people safe and people not losing their job, losing their home, not being able to provide for their kids. I don’t think that position is irrational when people’s lives are on the line.”
Mandatory vaccination is emerging elsewhere in the world as an attempt to dampen the pandemic’s growth.
From February 1, vaccination will be mandatory in Austria.
In Greece, people over age 60 will be fined 100 euros ($144) a month if they don’t get a shot by January 15.
In Italy, vaccines are compulsory for people older than 50.
German MPs are expected to vote on making vaccination mandatory soon.
In Canada, more stringent vaccine requirements are already being introduced in some places.
This week, Quebec announced expanding its mandatory vaccination passport system, so people in the province will eventually need three doses of a vaccine to get certain services. The province also announced extending its passport system to people who wanted to enter liquor and pot stores.
Canada’s chief public health officer provided a clearer picture of the impact of the Omicron variant in the country at the briefing on Friday, saying it is causing an “enormous” volume of COVID-19 cases in Canada. Still, severe illness is not rising at the same rate.
Dr. Theresa Tam said the average daily case count rose 65 percent from last week, with an average of close to 42,000 cases reported daily over the past seven days up to Wednesday.
While evidence from ongoing surveillance and international studies suggests the risk of hospitalization from Omicron is lower compared to Delta, the sudden acceleration of the new variant is driving a rise in hospital admissions, Tam noted.
But although current daily case counts are 400 percent higher than the peak of the third wave in spring 2021, she said severe illness is not spiking at the same “explosive” rate.
She said an average of close to 3,650 people with COVID-19 were being treated in hospitals daily, with almost 600 in intensive care units, representing weekly increases of 91 percent and 25 percent, respectively.
On average, 39 deaths were reported each day.
Tam is urging the seven million eligible Canadians who have not yet received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to do so while also calling for everyone else to get a booster shot when they can.
She also said people should limit in-person contacts to immediate household members as much as possible.
“This might feel like a double marathon that we didn’t sign up for,” Tam said.
Duclos told the briefing that he spoke with provincial and territorial health ministers on Thursday and commended their continuing hard work and “difficult decisions” managing the crisis.
Some public health experts have urged Health Canada to speed up the approval of the Merck and Pfizer antiviral drugs for COVID-19 on an emergency basis. Still, Duclos would only say that he will have more to say about the department’s assessment of those treatments “in the coming weeks.”
Source: The Canadian Press