Quebec tax on the unvaccinated could worsen inequity: Black Health Alliance | The Canadian News

A charity working to improve the health of black communities says Quebec’s proposal to impose a financial penalty on unvaccinated residents risks further entrenching inequalities in Canada’s response to the pandemic and eroding trust. in government.

Quebec Premier François Legault announced Tuesday that the province is working on a health care “contribution” that would be charged to all adults who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

His government is still ironing out the legalities, but said the financial penalty will be “significant.”

That could be a problem for people who have been hesitant to get the vaccine because of historical and current injustices, or who face systemic barriers to accessing the vaccine, said Black Health Alliance CEO Paul Bailey.

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Quebec wants to tax people not vaccinated against COVID-19. Can the province do that?

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“We know that that can further undermine public trust in governments or just trust in the vaccine, period,” Bailey said in an interview.

As of January 1, 2022, 87.6% of Canadians over the age of 12 had received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

But the provinces do not maintain socioeconomic or race-based data on who has or has not received a complete list of vaccines.

Several health equity experts say there is evidence that some have gone unnoticed.

Read more:

Quebec to impose a tax on people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19

A report by the Black Opportunity Fund, the African-Canadian Civic Engagement Council and the Innovative Research Group found a 20-point gap between black and white Canadians who had received at least one dose of the vaccine between May 18 and June 4. 2021, according to a survey. of 2,838 respondents.

Because this was an online survey, a margin or error cannot be calculated.

“In parts of the country, let’s say places like Toronto and Montreal, there are particular populations — black, of color, low and very low income — that have a high COVID burden and lower COVID vaccination,” Bailey said.

“We know that they are already living with the specter of poverty and many other inequities, whether it be food insecurity, housing insecurity. And so, for this specific population, taxing them only further entrenches those inequalities.”

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Instead, he suggests that provinces emphasize proven measures to combat vaccine hesitancy by engaging with people in a culturally responsive way.

In some parts of the country, ambassadors and community leaders have joined local public health workers to answer people’s questions about the risks and benefits of the vaccine.

“We know it works,” he said.

He said that governments should focus their time and funds to prioritize policies that address the real problem of existing systemic inequalities and lack of confidence in the vaccine.

A tax would only set back those efforts, he said.

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