Ontarians Who Don’t Get COVID-19 Vaccine Could Face Restrictions: Health Minister

Ontarians Who Don’t Get COVID-19 Vaccine Could Face Restrictions: Health Minister
Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott answers questions during a briefing at McKesson Canada in Toronto on Dec. 1, 2020. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)
Isaac Teo

Ontario's health minister says residents who don’t want to get a COVID-19 vaccine could face certain restrictions, while adding that proof of immunization will be provided to those who get the shot.

Health Minister Christine Elliott made the comments Tuesday at Queen’s Park, saying Ontarians could face restrictions such as travel and access to communal spaces like cinemas should they choose not to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available.

“There may be some restrictions that may be placed on people that don't have vaccines, for travel purposes, to be able to go to theatres and other places,” Elliott said.

“But that will be up to the individual person to decide whether they want to receive the vaccine to be able to do these things or not.”

However, she said the province will provide residents who have received the vaccination with a document to prove it.

“That's going to be really important for people to have for travel purposes, perhaps for work purposes, for going to theatres or cinemas, or any other places where people will be in closer physical contact when we get through the worst of the pandemic,” Elliott said.

“That will be essential for people to have.”

Elliott also noted there are two types of people who are reluctant to take the vaccination: “strict anti-vaxxers” and those who "want to receive the vaccine but don’t want to be the first ones.”

“That's their choice. This is not going to be a mandatory campaign,” Elliott said.

In addition, Elliott said it’s important for Ontarians to have all the information available to them so they can make the choice on whether or not to receive the vaccine

“That's where it's really important for us to have a public campaign of education and awareness so people will know. Some of it we'll be learning from other jurisdictions like the UK, and probably the U.S. as well,” she said.

Elliott’s comments on restrictions concur with the province’s chief medical officer of health David William, who answered questions from reporters on Dec. 3. He said that although they “can’t force someone to take a vaccine” due to the laws, “access or ease in getting into certain settings” may require proof of immunization.

He added that the proof of vaccination would allow “latitude and freedom to move around” and “access into long-term care facilities or the hospital without wearing other types of personal protective equipment.” He also said the document may also become a requirement for attendance in schools.

William’s comments, however, were met with criticism from a Twitter post by @NoMoreLockdowns, saying that “denying others access without proof of vaccine is the same as mandatory vaccine.”
With files from The Canadian Press