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Canadian province of Quebec to impose ‘significant’ fine on unvaccinated residents


(CNN) – The Canadian province of Quebec announced on Tuesday that residents who refused the COVID-19 vaccine will soon have to pay a fine.

The fines will be a way for the unvaccinated to contribute to an overburdened public health system, authorities said.

“Right now, these people put a very significant burden on our health care network, and I think it is normal for the majority of the population to ask for consequences,” Quebec Prime Minister François Legault said Tuesday in a Press conference.

Quebec Prime Minister François Legault says the fine is “a matter of justice” for those who have been vaccinated.

“It is also a question of justice for the 90% of the population that made some sacrifices, and I think we owe them this type of measure,” he added.

The fine would not apply to those with a medical exemption and details have not been announced. However, Legault said the amount to be imposed would be “significant.”

Almost 90% of eligible Quebecers have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Quebec government.

Public health authorities say the vast majority of patients in Quebec hospitals remain unvaccinated. Authorities have not said how many hospitalized covid-19 patients are not vaccinated.

Last week, Quebec announced that residents would have to get vaccinated to buy alcohol or cannabis. Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said in a tweet that after the announcement, appointments for vaccines skyrocketed.

“In just a few days, the appointments for the first dose went from 1.5K per day to over 6K yesterday. Thanks to everyone who decided to get vaccinated. It is not too late to receive your 1st dose. Protect yourself,” wrote Dubé.

Quebec, where nearly a quarter of all Canadians live, was one of the first Canadian provinces to introduce a vaccination passport. Proof of vaccination is required to eat at restaurants, go to the gym, or attend sporting events.

And last month, an evening curfew was imposed for the second time to curb the spread of the virus.

Quebec is not the first to take such steps to encourage people to get vaccinated.

Last week, Italy made vaccination against covid-19 mandatory for people over 50 years of age.

The proof of vaccination is already compulsory for teachers and health workers in Italy. And all employees must show proof of vaccination or show negative test before entering their workplace since October.

The new vaccination decree for those over 50 eliminates the option of getting tested instead of getting vaccinated. Those who refuse to be vaccinated risk a fine of 600 to 1,500 euros (roughly $ 680 to $ 1,700), a government source told CNN on Thursday.

After five days they will lose their salary but will not be fired. This means they can get paid again if they get vaccinated, the source said.

For people over 50 who are not vaccinated and are unemployed or retired, there will be a fine of 100 euros, the source said.

Two days after the government announced the new measure, Italy tripled the number of vaccines administered daily to people aged 50 and over, vaccination campaign commissioner Francesco Paolo Figliuolo said on Saturday.

Austria has also announced plans to make vaccination mandatory for those aged 14 and over from next month. And those over 60 in Greece will also have to get vaccinated from January 16.

CNN’s Livia Borghese and Kara Fox contributed to this report.



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