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Two parties say COVID-19 vaccine to be free for all in B.C.

VANCOUVER — The leaders of British Columbia's two major political parties say every person in the province will be eligible to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine once one is approved and available.
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VANCOUVER — The leaders of British Columbia's two major political parties say every person in the province will be eligible to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine once one is approved and available.

John Horgan told a virtual town hall meeting Monday evening that a re-elected NDP government on Oct. 24 will provide free COVID-19 vaccines to whoever wants one.

Horgan's promise was quickly followed by a similar pledge from Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson, who said he couldn't imagine charging people for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Horgan said providing a free COVID-19 vaccine will be part of the NDP's recovery plan because a healthy population can rebuild the province's economy.

The NDP's $1.6-billion recovery plan also includes almost two million flu shots, 7,000 more long-term care workers and more options for at-home care.

Wilkinson had promised free flu shots earlier in the campaign, then matched the promise Horgan made on COVID-19.

"In what world would a life-saving vaccine not be free to British Columbians," said Wilkinson in a post to his Twitter account.

The NDP promise also included making 45,000 high-dose influenza immunizations available to all those living in long-term care and assisted living facilities.

Horgan and several other NDP candidates fielded about a dozen questions from people who were identified by their first names only during the hour-long virtual town hall meeting. The participants asked questions about child care, Indigenous reconciliation, the opioid crises, the environment and support for rural communities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 5, 2020.

The Canadian Press