Prime Minister Jason Kenny has said Alberta will not follow Quebec’s plan to impose financial fines on those who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
According to Kenny, the data proves that those who are not vaccinated will have a much greater burden on the hospital system than those who are vaccinated, but it would not be fair to pay them extra.
“If we go down this path, we will completely destroy the principle of universal health care, so Alberta will not follow Quebec’s decision at all,” Kenny said at a Facebook city council meeting Tuesday night.
Quebec Prime Minister Francois Legault announced earlier in the day that he planned to pay a “huge” financial fine, given that unvaccinated adults occupy disproportionate beds in hospitals.
Kenny acknowledged that unvaccinated people are taking more hospital and intensive care beds, which has led to the domino effect of canceled surgeries as medical staff are reassigned to fight the pandemic.
But he said the levy would force the smoker to pay more for lung cancer treatment or pay for being injured by a high-risk skier and taken back out of the country. looks like.
“There is a broader and deeper principle here, which is that we have a universal health care system,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from, how old you are, how healthy you are, how rich you are, or what choices you make in life. You are guaranteed free use of our healthcare system. , for medically necessary services. “
Speaking in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would like to know more before making a decision on Quebec’s plan, but the province has guaranteed it will not violate Canadian health law.
Alberta, as in other jurisdictions around the world, is struggling with the rapid and spiraling growth of COVID-19 cases controlled by the highly contagious Omicron variant.
WATCH: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to Quebec’s proposal to pay tax on unvaccinated people
Kenny’s United Conservative government has drastically reduced attendance at public events before Christmas, and vaccine passports are still needed to access businesses that don’t matter, including bars and restaurants.
After Kenny promised extra masks for schools and millions of quick tests, students from kindergarten to 12th grade returned to class this week.
Rapid test delivery delayed
Last week, he said one million tests came in and three more tests came every week, from a total of 10 million private suppliers. That’s more than four million from the federal government.
Dr. Dean Xinshou, Alberta’s chief medical officer, said on Twitter on Tuesday night that the shipments had been suspended.
“The expected supply of fast test kits at home has been delayed by the federal government and manufacturers. Alberta Health is working hard to get more supplies as soon as possible,” Xinshou wrote on Twitter.
The opposition NDP has called on the government to publish forecasts on how bad the Omicron rise is expected to be and to provide good masks and high-efficiency air filters for schools.
More than 58,000 active COVID-19 cases have been reported in the province, but Xinshou said reducing test facilities means the actual number of infections will be 10 times higher. This week, he said, the province is ready to make a “significant impact” on health.
As of Tuesday, the hospital had 708 people infected with COVID-19, 80 of whom needed serious medical attention.
Previous waves of the pandemic have led to the cancellation of thousands of non-emergency operations as a result of staff relocation. Health Secretary Jason Copping said the province does not expect to reach it by the middle of this year.
“A little mess”
Neurologist Dr. Mary Lou Myles joined the NDP at a news conference Wednesday and said staff reassignments have hurt patients with multiple sclerosis.
Miles noted that early intervention and diagnosis are critical for MS patients, but that it takes weeks or months to consult a neurologist – and as needed before – now a year.
Early diagnosis is a good option for early treatment and prevention of damage to the central nervous system and subsequent debilitating disabilities, he said.
“The relocation of specialized nurses at the MS clinic itself has had an impact,” Miles said.
“One of the nurses was transferred to another location for almost a year. The other changes were very sudden and unpredictable, leading to some confusion.”