As Omicron continues to rapidly spread and overwhelm hospitals, more than a quarter of vaccinated Canadians support jailing unvaccinated individuals for five days.
A national survey by Maru Public Opinion asked 1,506 Canadian adults about their attitudes towards the unvaccinated population. The findings revealed that many hold the unvaccinated responsible for overwhelming the healthcare system and the primary factor for delaying the return of everyday life.
Although unvaccinated people argue that they are protecting their autonomy by resisting the vaccine or believe that their immune systems can beat the virus, two-thirds of Canadians favour mandatory vaccinations.
Despite their reasons, provincial COVID-19 data indicates that unvaccinated people are 27 times more likely to end up in B.C.’s ICUs with the virus than their double vaccinated counterparts. And 54 per cent of surveyees lack sympathy for an unvaccinated individual if they became infected or died from COVID-19.
This lack of sympathy was part of a larger discussion on social media in summer 2021 about vaccine hesitancy in marginalized communities and the legacy of medical racism. In July 2021, University of Calgary student Brandon Eby tweeted, “to suggest that the immunocompromised and unvaccinated should die of COVID is quite literally eugenics.”
In addition to supporting jail time, more than half of surveyed Canadians responded that they believe the unvaccinated should be restricted from entering public spaces like libraries or liquor stores. Further, they feel the unvaccinated should face monetary consequences if admitted into the hospital or ICU.
Although B.C. has implemented entry restrictions to certain spaces like cinemas and restaurants for the unvaccinated, this population can still access essential businesses. On the opposite end of Canada, the Quebec government proposed a tax on the unvaccinated last week. This tax would protect older Quebecers who make up the majority of people admitted to hospitals, argued Premier Francois Legault.
Legault told the Montreal Gazette that “the goal is to do everything to insist that people get vaccinated.”