One Canadian province recently turned up the pressure on residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine by requiring the shot in order to purchase some very popular merriments.
During a news conference last Thursday, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé announced that starting Jan. 18, residents will need to show proof of vaccination to buy alcohol and cannabis from government-operated retailers.
The strict measure was reportedly a part of the province's latest attempt to stem the spread of the coronavirus using its vaccine passport system, which will soon require a booster shot to be considered up-to-date.
"If the unvaccinated aren't happy with this situation, there is a very simple solution at your disposal," the minister suggested. "It is to get vaccinated. It's free."
Dubé said he hoped the aggressive measure would further incentivize vaccination at a time when 50% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated despite representing only 10% of the population.
The strong-armed government approach appeared to be immediately effective. Just one day after the announcement, Dubé reported that the daily average for first dose appointment requests quadrupled, shooting up from roughly 1,500 before the announcement to 6,000 on Thursday, the Montreal Gazette reported.
The minister also reportedly warned that its vaccine passport program would soon be expanded to require proof of vaccination in order to enter other non-essential businesses, such as personal care services, though he didn't go into specific detail.
"By limiting the places they can go, we're limiting their contacts," he said, adding, "If you don't want to get vaccinated, stay home."
The health minister's comments echoed a sentiment recently offered by French President Emmanuel Macron, who said his health strategy effectively amounts to "pissing off" the unvaccinated until they get the shots.
"The unvaccinated, I really want to piss them off. And so, we're going to continue doing so, until the end. That's the strategy," Macron told the French newspaper, Le Parisien.
In Quebec, residents are presently required to present proof of vaccination before entering health care facilities, indoor sports venues, movie theaters, bars, and nightclubs, Complex reported. Though some adults, as well as children under the age of 13, are exempt.
The province also has put in place a curfew that runs from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in attempt to slow the spread of the Omicron variant.