All Quebecers who wish to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu will be able to do so for free from October 10. Vulnerable people living in CHSLDs, in a private seniors’ residence (RPA) or in an intermediate resource will have access to both vaccines starting next Monday.
The national director of public health, Dr Luc Boileau made the announcement during a press briefing Thursday in Montreal. He was accompanied by the DD Caroline Quach-Thanh, microbiologist-infectious disease specialist at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Center and president of the Quebec Immunization Committee.
” From today [jeudi]the entire population can make an appointment on Clic Santé,” said the Dr Boileau.
Vaccination will be offered at more than a hundred local service points as well as in nearly 1,500 pharmacies in the province. Doses of Moderna’s anti-COVID vaccine, approved by Health Canada, are currently distributed “everywhere in all our regions,” said the Dr Boileau.
The vaccination campaign targets first and foremost vulnerable people, such as people aged 60 and over, immunocompromised people and the chronically ill. Public Health recommends that they get vaccinated as soon as possible if their last dose against COVID-19 was six months or more ago. Healthcare workers should do the same so as not to help spread the virus among patients.
” Several [personnes vulnérables] had their vaccine more than six months ago, whether in our CHSLDs, our RPAs, said the Dr Boileau. [Pour] some, it’s been seven months, others, almost eight months. It’s a good time to go [se faire vacciner]. ” The DD Quach-Thanh recalls that vaccines provide protection against complications, hospitalizations and death for “at least six months”.
“Not in the face of a crisis”
According to the latest data available from the Ministry of Health and Social Services, 1,341 people with COVID-19 are hospitalized in Quebec, including 29 in intensive care. “We are not facing a crisis […]but it is important to say that there are viruses which are still circulating,” underlined the Dr Boileau.
Asked about access to rapid screening tests, Dr Boileau responded that these are offered to the general population at local service points. They are also available in daycares, primary schools and secondary schools. As for those in pharmacies, they are reserved for vulnerable people.
The national director of public health advises people who have a fever to stay at home. “When you have a cough, nasal congestion, you wear a mask when you are with others,” he added.