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Kenney rebukes rumours vaccine will be mandatory in Alberta

Last Updated May 22, 2020 at 8:39 am MST

CALGARY (CityNews) – Alberta Premier Jason Kenney clears up what he calls ‘mischievous rumours’ the government has secretly adopted a law requiring mandatory vaccinations.

“There’s been some misinformation that the government recently adopted a law requiring mandatory vaccinations. That is completely untrue,” said Kenney. “The government has no intention of making that mandatory.”

That statement in the wake of a recent poll in which two-thirds of respondents said they would support a mandatory vaccine for COVID-19.

“Not getting vaccinated is obviously I think a big mistake,” said Timothy Caulfield with the University of Alberta. “Vaccines are the single greatest achievement of biomedicine, they save millions of lives every year.”

Currently, there are no laws in Canada that would force someone to get a vaccine.

“Since 1910, the Public Health Act, or its previous legislation, has had the ability to require mandatory inoculation,” added Kenney. “That’s, as far as we know, never been used and certainly the government has no intention of making that mandatory.”

“What governments are generally talking about in most liberal democracies is laws that encourage the uptake of vaccinations,” said Caulfield.

There are a couple of examples of that in Ontario and New Brunswick where proof of immunization is required for kids to attend public school.

However, many experts believe the earliest a COVID-19 vaccine can be available is 2021.

“We’re trying to be cautious and not create unrealistic expectations because this has to be done,” said Caulfied. “This has to be done carefully in order to ensure we have public confidence.”

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw said there are 10 different vaccines are currently in the trial phase with humans and one of those is in Canada.