TORONTO — Ontario residents who choose not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine could face certain restrictions, the province’s health minister said, noting that the government will provide proof of immunization to those who get the shot.
Christine Elliott said the province will not make the vaccine mandatory, but some activities — such as travel and access to communal spaces like cinemas — could eventually be restricted for those who opt not to get immunized.
Elliott’s comments came earlier this week. Meanwhile this morning Health Canada announced it has approved the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, the first to be given the green light for national use.
Canada is set to receive four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine by March, including up to 249,000 doses this month, with the first shipment set to arrive next week. Health Canada is reviewing three other vaccine candidates, including one from Moderna, which is set to deliver two million doses to Canada in the first quarter of 2021.
On Dec. 7 Elliott said Ontario will provide residents who have received the vaccination with a document to prove it, she said.
“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’s comments come as Ontario prepares to receive its initial doses of the vaccine in the coming weeks.
The province has said it plans to offer the vaccine first to vulnerable seniors, their caregivers and health-care workers.
It will also be prioritizing the rollout of the vaccine in regions with the highest rates of COVID-19 infection.
Retired Gen. Rick Hiller, who is leading Ontario’s vaccine task force, said the province will receive 2.4 million doses — allowing it to vaccinate 1.2 million people — during the first three months of 2021.
SOURCE: The Canadian Press