Canada is likely to arrive where provinces think about vaccine mandates: Duclos


Content of the article

OTTAWA – Canada’s Health Minister has said he expects the country to reach a time in the COVID-19 pandemic when provinces consider implementing a broader vaccine mandate to counter the increase cases.


Content of the article

Jean-Yves Duclos said during a COVID-19 briefing on Friday that such a measure was not currently being considered in Canada, but his personal opinion was that the country would get there at some point.

“We know that COVID-19 will be with us for many more months, maybe even many years,” he said in French.

Given the fragile nature of Canada’s health care system and the aging population, Duclos said he believes provinces and territories will consider a broader vaccine mandate in the coming weeks and months, while stressing that it would be up to them to make the decision.

“The only way we know of getting through COVID-19, this variant and any future variant, is vaccination,” he added in English, while noting that other measures, including personal protective equipment and the tests, are also important.

He also noted the high number of hospitalizations involving unvaccinated people.

Of the 40,788 hospitalizations reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada as of January 18, about 79% were unvaccinated.

We apologize, but this video failed to load.

People aged 12 to 59 were 25 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 if they weren’t vaccinated, according to PHAC data between November 7 and December 4, 2021.

“It is a burden on healthcare workers, a burden on society that is very difficult to bear and difficult for many people to understand,” he said.

Italy Wednesday made COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for people aged 50 and over in an effort to ease the strain on its healthcare system and reduce deaths. France has also stepped up a campaign to push the unvaccinated to get vaccinated, with President Emmanuel Macron banning them from restaurants, cafes, cinemas and theaters.


Content of the article

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney dismissed the idea of ​​mandatory vaccinations in a social media post shortly after the Duclos press conference. While encouraging people to get vaccinated, he said it was a personal choice.

“The Alberta legislature removed the power to require vaccination from the Public Health Act last year and will not reverse that decision, period,” he wrote on Twitter on Friday.

We apologize, but this video failed to load.

Kenney made a similar statement on vaccine passports last summer, reversing the decision in September and introducing an amended passport to stop the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases that threatened to shut down the health care system.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe echoed Kenney’s sentiment in a statement Friday afternoon.

“While we strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others from serious disease, in Saskatchewan it is a personal choice, not a choice imposed by the government,” said writes Moe.

Newfoundland and Labrador Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald called the idea “a huge question with a lot of implications”, and said she was not ready to answer it. immediately, when asked the question at a briefing on Friday.

On Thursday, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said he refuses to criticize people who are not vaccinated and believes that “reasonable accommodation” should be provided for people like truck drivers to avoid downtime and exacerbate supply chain challenges.


Content of the article

“There will be up to 15% of the population who will not be vaccinated,” he told a press conference.

“In some cases you will have to try to find reasonable accommodations between keeping people safe and not losing their jobs, losing their homes, not being able to support their children. I don’t think this position is irrational when people’s lives are at stake. ”

We apologize, but this video failed to load.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer has urged the seven million eligible Canadians who have yet to receive a dose of COVID-19 vaccine to do so, while also calling on everyone to get a booster shot when they can.

Dr Theresa Tam said the average daily number of cases was up 65% from last week, with an average of almost 42,000 cases reported daily in the past seven days through Wednesday.

She said it was four times the number of cases when the third wave peaked last spring, and even then the number is an underestimate given that testing is contested in many parts of the country.

While evidence from ongoing surveillance and international studies suggests that Omicron’s risk of hospitalization is lower than that of Delta, the sudden acceleration of the new variant leads to increased hospitalizations, Tam noted.

She said that on average nearly 3,650 people with COVID-19 were treated daily in hospitals, including nearly 600 in intensive care units, representing weekly increases of 91% and 25% respectively.

On average, 39 deaths were reported each day.


Content of the article

The provinces highlighted the dire situation Omicron has created for their economies and their hospitals.

“Record hospitalizations, cases and absenteeism at all levels,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford after visiting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Toronto on Friday.

Ford’s government declined to comment on Duclos’ remarks on mandatory vaccinations.

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix said the system is threatened not only by the number of patients taking up beds in hospitals, but also by the number of hospital staff who have to be absent because they contracted the virus.

British Columbia has suspended scheduled surgeries to “limit capacity so that we have space for patients with COVID-19 who may need hospital care and in addition, and just as important, to deal with the medical absenteeism issues, ”Dix said at a briefing Friday.

The federal government expects an increase in the number of requests for help in strengthening ailing provincial health systems in the coming weeks.

Duclos issued a “kind warning, but a clear warning” to the provinces that they should act now to preserve their hospital capacity.

“If they don’t do enough, it will be difficult for the federal government to help afterwards because we don’t have the capacity to do it,” he said.

Public health measures, including closures in some areas, will be important as the pressure on health workers reaches a breaking point, he said.


Content of the article

Some public health experts have urged Health Canada to speed up the approval of antiviral drugs Merck and Pfizer for COVID-19 in an emergency. Duclos only said he would have more to say about the ministry’s assessment of these treatments “in the coming weeks.”

Tam suggested that Canadians should limit in-person contact as much as possible to immediate members of the household.

“It might look like a double marathon that we didn’t sign up for,” Tam said.

“But despite the fatigue, we should have a sense of accomplishment for how far we’ve come so far, to stay on track and know that we can always draw strength from each other to get to where we need to go. “

– With files from Dean Bennett and Stephanie Taylor



Postmedia is committed to maintaining a vibrant but civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour of moderation before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread that you follow, or if a user that you follow comments. Check out our community guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.


Comments are closed.