(CNN) – The Canadian province of Quebec on Tuesday announced that residents who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine will soon have to pay a fine.
Officials said the fine would be a way to contribute to a more burdensome public health system for those who are not vaccinated.
“Right now, these people are putting a very significant burden on our health care network, and I think it’s natural for the majority of people to hear the consequences,” Quebec Prime Minister Franசois Legalt told a news conference on Tuesday.
“For 90% of the population who have made some sacrifices, it is a question of justice and I think we owe it to them to take action like this,” he added.
Penalties do not apply to those with medical exemption and details have not been announced. However, Legault said the amount charged would be “significant”.
According to the Quebec government, nearly 90% of eligible Quebecs have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine.
Public health officials say most patients in Quebec hospitals are not vaccinated. Officials did not say how many hospital Govt-19 patients had not been vaccinated.
Last week, it was announced that Quebec residents must be vaccinated to buy alcohol or cannabis. In a tweet, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube said appointments for the vaccine had risen following the announcement.
“In a few days, appointments for the first dose have gone from 1.5K to 6K per day. Thanks to everyone who decided to get vaccinated. It’s not too late to get your 1st dose. Protect yourself,” Dubé wrote. .
Quebec, home to almost a quarter of Canadians, was one of the first Canadian provinces to introduce a vaccine passport. Evidence of vaccination is required for eating at restaurants, going to the gym, or attending sports events.
Last month, an evening curfew was imposed for the second time to prevent the virus from spreading.
Quebec is not the first country to take such steps to encourage people to get vaccinated.
In the last week, Italy Mandated the Covit-19 vaccine for those over 50 years of age.
Evidence of vaccination for teachers and health workers in Italy is already mandatory. Also all employees must show proof of vaccination or show a negative test before entering their workplace from October.
The new vaccine order for people over the age of 50 eliminates the option of testing instead of vaccinating. Those who refuse to be vaccinated will be fined 600 to 1,500 euros (approximately $ 680 to $ 1,700), government sources told CNN on Thursday.
After five days they will lose their salary, but will not be fired. That means they can get their money back if they get vaccinated, the source said.
Those over 50 who have not been vaccinated and are unemployed or retired will be fined 100 euros, the source said.
Two days after the government announced the new measure, Italy has tripled daily vaccinations for people 50 and over, vaccine campaign commissioner Francesco Paulo Figliulo said on Saturday.
Austria has also announced plans to make the vaccine compulsory for people aged 14 and over from next month. In Greece, people over the age of 60 must be vaccinated from January 16.
CNN’s Livia Borghese and Kara Fox contributed to this report.