Make the unvaccinated pay but forget the tax

The unvaccinated are a burden on our health care system. Those who refuse to get a shot against COVID-19 use a proportionally high percentage of health care resources.

image: The Independent

We, the vaccinated, pay for the privilege of the unvaccinated to exercise what they imagine is some kind of right. We are denied surgery and other medical treatments because hospitals are full of the unvaccinated.

It’s tempting to lash out at those inconsiderate people.

That’s what Quebec Premier François Legault is doing. The reactionary Quebec government intends on imposing a tax on those who aren’t vaccinated in order to offset their disproportionate cost to the health care system.

Without being specific, Legault says the tax levy will be “significant.”

Unvaccinated Quebeckers make up just 10 per cent of the province’s adult population but comprise about half of those admitted to ICU with the disease, Legault said.

It’s a similar statistic across Canada. Global News reporter Keith Baldrey says that in B.C., the unvaccinated are 12 time more likely to be in hospital, compared with the vaccinated, 27 times more likely to be in ICU, and forty times more likely to die.

In this election year, it’s not surprising that Quebec’s populist government would use such a blunt tool as a tax. That province would be the first in Canada to do so and no other province is considering such draconian measures.

However, outside Canada, Quebec is not the only jurisdiction to impose financial penalties on people who refuse to get vaccinated. In December, Austria said the unvaccinated could be charged about $5,000 every three months starting this year. In Greece, the government this month mandated vaccines for everyone 60 and older. People there who refuse are facing a $144 monthly fine.

But, Quebec aside, we Canadians are a accommodating bunch. Despite the exaggerations of the vocal antivaxxers who compare vaccine mandates as fascist, no squads in jackboots will be rounding up the unvaccinated and sending them to death camps.

In their fantasy world of delusion, antivaxxers compare themselves to Jews in Nazi Germany. In the real world, there are no vaccine mandates in Canada because we respect rights. The fact remains that people have a right to refuse vaccination. Even the anti-social, obnoxious, misinformed and ignorant people have rights.

The unvaccinated are not a single group. It’s difficult to identify just who they are. Sure, there are the tiny, loud minority of vaccine deniers. But there are also a lot of misguided people who are victims of misinformation, frightened and facing practical barriers to accessing vaccines.

There are those with well-justified historic mistrust in the system, such as Indigenous people

The unvaccinated are not all “bad,” selfish or ill-intentioned people.

We can use tools such as vaccine passports to deny entry to restaurants, sporting events and liquor and cannabis stores. When Quebec announced restrictions to cannabis stores recently, a spike in first-dose vaccinations was seen.

No tax is required to encourage compliance. The unvaccinated already pay by being social outcasts, shunned by society at large as pariahs.

Being labeled as outcasts will put the greatest pressure on most of the unvaccinated to comply with public health measures.

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