'Won't strap people down': Kenney dismisses idea of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination
Jason Kenney says he won't make a COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for Albertans once it is widely available. (File)
CALGARY -- Premier Jason Kenney has panned the idea of making a COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for all Albertans, he announced on social media this week.
During a live question-and-answer period held on his Facebook page, he said that his government would not be pursuing a policy to make a vaccination program necessary for Albertans when the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.
"COVID vaccinations will not be mandatory – not in Alberta," he said.
Furthermore, he said his government will look at making changes to the existing Public Health Act when legislature reconvenes in early 2021 to make sure that mandatory vaccination doesn't happen.
"We will make a number of changes to the Public Health Act, one of which will be to remove the power for the government to impose mandatory vaccination."
Kenney went on to say the power has been in the Act since around the time of the Spanish Flu pandemic, but it's never been used.
"Alberta will not make that or any other vaccine mandatory. We are not going to strap people down to force them to be injected with a vaccine. I think the idea is ridiculous."
But that doesn't mean Kenney won't encourage Albertans to seek vaccinations for COVID-19 once it becomes available.
"The more people who do use it, the better off we're all going to be."
Alberta Health has confirmed the Public Health Act's section 38(1)(c) does provide government with the power to order immunization or re-immunization to be mandatory for Albertans but adds the Act is currently undergoing an all-party review.
The government will provide comment on Kenney's response to the rules around the COVID-19 vaccine, whenever it becomes available.