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Ontario NDP leader: “I was wrong” on mandatory vaccination

“I was wrong.”

After 48 hours of criticism, even from within her own party, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says she supports mandatory vaccinations for teachers and healthcare workers in the province.

“I fully support mandatory vaccination in health care and education, based on science and public health priorities,” Horwath said in a video released on Thursday afternoon. “I should have made that position clearer, much earlier, in support of the health and safety of the most vulnerable among us: seniors, people with disabilities, people who are sick, and children who can’t yet get their vaccines.”

“On Wednesday I made a mistake suggesting a mandatory vaccine policy during a global pandemic should take a back seat to charter rights. I regret the comment. I was wrong,” she added. “My fight and my focus must be on keeping people healthy and safe. This unprecedented time requires unprecedented actions.”

Horwath had said on Twitter and on television that she didn’t support mandatory vaccinations for teachers and healthcare workers because she didn’t want to violate their Charter rights.

She made the comments after Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca said he was in support of requiring shots for employees who may be interacting with high risk individuals – including hospital patients and children under 12 who can’t be vaccinated.

“If you’re not sure yet about the vaccine, we want the government to keep working with you to help you make a decision and access your shot,” Horwath said in a news release on Tuesday, saying the NDP was calling for regular rapid tests as opposed to mandatory vaccination.
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