1st-Dose Appointments Spiked In Quebec On The Day Legault Announced An Anti-Vax Tax

Dubé called the spike "encouraging."

Senior Editor
1st-Dose Appointments Spiked In Quebec On The Day Legault Announced An Anti-Vax Tax

It seems money motivates. On the day that the premier announced an anti-vax tax, Quebec saw a spike in first vaccine dose appointments, according to Health Minister Christian Dubé.

In a Wednesday morning tweet, the minister said 5,000 people made appointments on January 10 and 7,000 made appointments on January 11, the day of the announcement — "the highest number in several days," he noted.

Dubé called the figures "encouraging."

The upcoming fee for Quebec adults who refuse to get a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be an additional "health contribution" to compensate for the disproportionate burden the unvaccinated are placing on the health care system, Premier François Legault said Tuesday.

He noted that while only 10% of the adult population is unvaccinated, people without a vaccine dose occupy 50% of intensive care unit beds.

"All adults in Quebec who don’t accept to go get at least a first dose in the upcoming weeks will have a bill to pay because there are consequences on our health network," the premier said. He assured that people who can't receive a vaccine for medical reasons will be exempt.

Legault said the tax would be "significant" but didn't clarify how much exactly. He also did not say when the "bill" would go out.

The anti-vax tax is just the latest measure the Quebec government is imposing on the unvaccinated. On January 18, the provincial liquor and cannabis stores, the SAQ and SQDC, will require the vaccine passport. Dubé warned other businesses will require customers to have the health pass in the coming months, too.

Quebec COVID-19 Rules Could Gradually Start Being Lifted Before Mid-February

That's public health director Dr. Boileau's prediction, at least.

Is Quebec on track for a Valentine's Day gift? Though Premier François Legault said Thursday that the province isn't yet in a place that would allow the government to lift more Quebec COVID-19 rules, interim public health director Dr. Luc Boileau suggested that could change by mid-February.

In an interview on Radio-Canada program Tout un matin Friday morning, the director told host Patrick Masbourian that public health experts are currently "working extremely hard to try to weigh" the risks associated with higher numbers of infections and hospitalizations "to make them compatible with a loosening of restrictions."

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Quebec's anti-corruption agency (UPAC) and the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) are currently investigating the production and use of fake vaccine passports throughout the province.

Minister of Public Security Geneviève Guilbault spoke on Radio-Canada's Tout Un Matin, revealing that the UPAC and SQ have 150 investigations in progress on cases of fraudulent vaccine passports. While she could not provide an exact number of false vaccine passports currently in circulation across Quebec, Guilbault stated that each file could potentially contain "several fakes or several people involved in fraudulent schemes."

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Legault Won't Lift Other Quebec COVID-19 Restrictions For Now

"For the moment we are at the worst of the pandemic."

Health measures in Quebec will not be changing in the immediate future, according to Premier François Legault. Despite a slowdown and, most recently, a slight decrease in hospitalizations, the situation is still too fragile to justify relaxing Quebec COVID-19 rules, he said.

"We seem to have reached the peak of hospitalizations today at last," he began in a press conference Thursday afternoon. "Yes, we can predict a decrease in hospitalizations soon, but for the moment we are at the worst of the pandemic with 3,400 hospitalizations."

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Quebec COVID-19 Hospitalizations Have Finally Gone Down After Climbing For Weeks

Legault is holding a press conference Thursday afternoon.

In its January 20 report, Quebec reported a decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations for the first time in weeks. There were a total of 3,411 COVID-19 hospital patients, 14 fewer than the day before. 285 people were in intensive care — that number remained unchanged.

The January 20 daily report comes as the Institut national d'excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS) releases its latest hospital occupancy projections. The institute noted that though hospitalizations are still high, they seem to have plateaued between January 8 and 14.

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