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Provinces could make vaccination mandatory, says federal health minister

Health Minister Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says vaccination remains the only way out of the pandemic

Jean-Yves Duclos seated during a press conference.

Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos said that provinces likely will start turning to mandatory vaccination policies to deal with swelling COVID caseloads threatening to overwhelm hospitals.

Photo: La Presse canadienne / Justin Tang

RCI

Provinces are likely to introduce mandatory vaccination policies in the coming months to deal with the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said today.

What we see now is that our health care system in Canada is fragile, our people are tired, and the only way that we know to get through COVID-19, this variant and any future variant, is through vaccination, Duclos said. 

Duclos said said that while rapid tests, masking and social distancing are useful tools, they won't end the pandemic on their own.

Fifty per cent of hospitalizations now, in Quebec, are due to people not having been vaccinated, he said. "That's a burden on health care workers, a burden on society which is very difficult to bear and for many people difficult to understand.

That's why I'm signaling this is a conversation which I believe provinces and territories, in support with the federal government, will want to have over the next weeks and months.

Duclos said that while discussions about mandatory vaccination policies are not taking place now, he believes that, based on his personal understanding of what we see internationally and domestically and in my conversations [with] health ministers over the last few weeks, that discussion will start in the coming weeks or months.

He stressed that it's up to the provinces to decide whether to implement mandatory vaccination policies.

More to come ...

Peter Zimonjic (new window) · CBC News

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