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Alberta government looking at removing mandatory vaccine powers

Last Updated Sep 17, 2020 at 12:43 pm MDT

FILE - A patient receives a shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Alberta’s health minister is the latest to say he doesn’t support mandatory vaccines.

Tyler Shandro said he is in favour of repealing a section of the Public Health Act that gives the government the power to mandate vaccines during a health emergency.

The comments from Shandro echo what Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has already said.

“I would be comfortable with that particular piece of the legislation being removed,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw. ”

These declarations come as the Canadian government has invested tens of millions of dollars to help find or create a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, signing agreements with several pharmaceutical companies.

The question of whether that vaccine should be mandatory has been debated since the start of the pandemic.

According to a poll conducted in April by Leger and Associates, 60 per cent of respondents believe people should be required to get the vaccine once it is ready, while the other 40 per cent think it should be voluntary.

RELATED: Canadians divided over making COVID-19 vaccine mandatory: Poll

Back in February, Research Co. also released results of a survey showing 81 per cent Canadian respondents believe that vaccinations for children should “definitely” or “probably” be mandatory in their province.

Those numbers were lower for those surveyed in the United States.

“More than one-in-four Americans (27 per cent) believe decisions on childhood vaccinations should be made by parents,” said Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “The proportion of Canadians who would follow this course of action is decidedly lower at 12 per cent.”

The section of the Public Health Act mandating vaccines has never been used and the provincial government said it is reviewing that provision.