Yukon government officials are reluctant to directly answer where they stand on the contentious question of mandatory vaccines for the general public.
The subject has been in the headlines since late last week, when federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said he believes the provinces should be moving in that direction.
Fuel was added to that fire earlier this week when the Quebec government announced it will bring in “substantial fines” likely exceeding $100 for unvaccinated adults seeking health care.
On Tuesday, an Ontario official said the province isn’t interested in the concept, saying it’s “too punitive.”
The following statement was provided to the Star by the Yukon government. It does not provide a yes or no answer on the issue.
“We need to do everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and we know the vaccines offer the best form of protection,” reads the note provided by the cabinet communications team. “We agree that the vaccines will lead us out of the pandemic.
“As we have for the past year, we continue to encourage all eligible Yukoners to get vaccinated because every shot delivered helps keep our territory safe.
“All Yukon government employees and front-line health care workers in the territory are required to be vaccinated. This allows us to ensure a safe working environment for our employees, including our health care workers, while protecting the health and safety of the members of the public we serve, especially our most vulnerable populations.”
The statement adds, “Other employers throughout the territory have vaccine requirements for employment to ensure a safe workplace and minimize the risk of transmission.
“Proof of vaccination is also required in the Yukon to access a variety of non-essential services, participate in recreational activities and attend events. We continue to make vaccines, including booster shots, available to Yukoners and support efforts to increase vaccination rates in the Yukon to protect against COVID-19.”
Yukon Party representatives issued a strongly-worded statement against the concept of making vaccines mandatory for the general population.
“The Yukon Party fully supports COVID-19 vaccination efforts and strongly encourages all Yukoners to get vaccinated,” said the official Opposition.
“We recognize that vaccination is our single greatest tool against severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. However, we do not support making vaccinations mandatory.
“Clear communication remains a fundamental issue for this Liberal government on their policies, recommendations, and decisions made in response to COVID-19,” the YukonParty said.
“More information about the vaccine should be publicly available for those who are vaccine-hesitant, and for all Yukoners.
“While the Yukon government has encouraged people to talk to their family doctor if they have any questions or concerns about the vaccine, thousands of Yukoners cannot access a family doctor,” the party pointed out.
“So, the government must do more to educate Yukoners on the benefits of vaccines. We agree with the CMOH (Dr. Catherine Elliott, the acting chief medical officer of health) that the best way out of the pandemic is through vaccination.”