There is a new saying in the French Canadian province of Quebec: “No vax, pay tax.” Quebec plans to impose a “significant” healthcare tax on all unvaccinated residents, due to their health system deteriorating after the most recent surge of the COVID-19.
This new “health contribution” is due to the rise of Covid-19 cases within the province. Only about 10% of Quebec's population remains unvaccinated, this 10% is responsible for 50% of all intensive care cases. Quebec has had the most deaths within a single province since the pandemic started, with 12,000 lives lost. Hospitals in Montreal, the largest city within the province, are close to 100% capacity and have begun to limit non-COVID-19 related cases.
According to the Premier of Quebec’s Twitter, François Legault, the new healthcare tax “C’est encourageant!” In English, it means “it is encouraging!” Covid-19 vaccine appointments shot up within 2 days of the new healthcare tax announcement. Quebec has tried other ways to encourage residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine, such as requiring the physical vaccine passport to enter a liquor or cannabis store. The province is well prepared for the surge of people coming their way, Canada has stated that "There are currently enough mRNA vaccine doses in Canada to meet the needs of the eligible population in accordance with NACI recommendations." This means that pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and Moderna do not have to provide more. Even a pharmaceutical company based in Montreal, Medicago, will soon be able to provide a plant-based vaccine for those skeptical about the ingredients that make up the vaccine.
Although many Quebecers agree with strict mandates to help keep the residents safe, there has been some controversy with the new healthcare tax. According to La Presse, Quebec's leading news media outlet, many believe the new tax will target those who lack information and resources to acquire the COVID-19 vaccine. The province healthcare system also has a previous record of discrimination against minorities, such as African American and indigenous residents. However, La Presses believes the new healthcare tax “necessary tool in the fight against the virus.”
Quebec is not the only region of the world to impose a financial punishment on unvaccinated residents. In Singapore, unvaccinated residents who need hospitalization are required to pay their own bills. Back in November 2021, in Greece, residents over the age of 60 are required to pay a fine every month they remain unvaccinated. Even within the United States, companies are requiring the vaccine enable to work. Archway Marketing Services: a marketing firm that provides services to the pharmaceutical company that provides the COVID-19 vaccine, AstraZeneca, has a plan to fine their employees a small fee if they are not vaccinated. New York City Sanitation Services put in place a vaccine mandate that required them to suspend employees if they refused to become vaccinated. Austria is following others' examples and has plans to roll out a new fining system for residents over the age of 14 who are unvaccinated.