CHARBONNEAU – Make the unvaccinated pay but forget the tax

(Image: Ria Sopala,

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.

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 40 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.

David Charbonneau is a retired TRU electronics instructor who hosts a blog at

About Mel Rothenburger (9652 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on CHARBONNEAU – Make the unvaccinated pay but forget the tax

  1. Love the “anti-vaxxer” rant. However a little tax or some other draconian measure commensurate to the “anti-vaxxer” draconian mentality would be great.

  2. thank you. In BC, with public health, these people are a hindrance and a danger. And while their selfish ignorance endangers others and uses, and even wastes public resources, they still claim right and access to public health services. If this attitude increases, it endangers the entire system of public health and public caring for which Canada is known, Compulsory registration is required, and service provided only on a membership basis…otherwise, cash up front. It is often called the social contract. Time to renew it. If you want someone to pay your bills, pay your premiums and your dues. Citizenship is conditional.

  3. Well, for the stubborn 10 percent who remain unvaccinated, being denied access to restaurants etc is no big hardship. Meanwhile, the 90 percent are mostly paying for the liberties taken by this group. This column might have included the actual additional cost to healthcare. That might give people pause to think about how tolerant we should be.

    People don’t like the word “tax” but ultimately, that is how the cost borne by this pandemic is going to be paid.

  4. Ian MacKenzie // January 20, 2022 at 6:16 AM // Reply

    Although I normally agree with David’s ruminations I see very little evidence that being social pariahs has decreased the percentage of anti-vaxxers. In fact their social lack of responsibility seems to take satisfaction in being martyrs for the cause of “this is my right”. Could he justify his final paragraph? My wife has had three consecutive postponements for her surgery. The last was not a postponement. It seems to be a cancellation without a date supplied.

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