Can the COVID-19 Vaccine Be Mandatory?

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COVID-19 vaccines have been everywhere in the news lately. Canada and many other countries have signed contracts for millions of doses of future vaccines. There’s a big question: can the COVID-19 vaccine be mandatory?

Nothing is planned for now

Quebec is still in the middle of a public health emergency which gives the government exceptional powers. The Public Health Act gives the government the power to order citizens to be vaccinated against a contagious disease which poses a serious threat to public health. However, the government has not announced any plans to do this.

It should be noted that there no mandatory vaccines in Quebec – not for COVID-19 or for any other disease.

Reduced access to certain areas?

Quebec’s Director of Public Health can order people not to visit certain places if there is an outbreak if they have not been vaccinated. This includes:

  • Educational institutions
  • Workplaces
  • Other gathering places

This happened a few years ago during a measles outbreak in the Launadière region. Children who were not vaccinated were not allowed to attend school for a certain time. It remains to be seen whether this will happen during an outbreak when a vaccine for COVID-19 is available.