Flu vaccination starts Nov. 1, but getting a shot may be more difficult
Published Thursday, October 26, 2017 7:18PM EDT
Quebec's free flu vaccination program begins next Wednesday, but along with shots, patients are getting a health dose of confusion.
The flu vaccine will, as always, be offered free to high-risk groups including children between 6 and 23 months old, adults over 60, and those with chronic illnesses.
Quebec's Health Ministry has purchased more than 1.9 million doses of the flu vaccine for this program.
But unlike past years, not all doctors will be offering the service.
- Looking for a vaccine? Find government info here
This is because in January, under pressure from the federal government, Quebec banned doctors from charging "accessory fees" for tasks such as storing vaccines and giving injections.
Doctors are also forbidden from selling vaccines from their office.
Minister Gaetan Barrette had hoped to work out a way for doctors to get paid for administering vaccines in their office, but told CTV on Wednesday that there were legal obstacles preventing that from happening.
Some doctors have told CTV they will stock the free vaccine at their offices even though they cannot charge patients for the service but many will not.
Instead, they are telling patients they will have to go to CLSCs, or to pharmacies.
Many of the big name pharmacies in Quebec are offering of flu clinics for those willing to pay.
One Jean Coutu explained it will selling the vaccine for $19 and charge $10 to have a nurse give the injection.
The Health Ministry said if necessary, it will devote more resources to CLSCs so that patients can get jabbed.
Meanwhile some doctors are worried that instead of dealing with a runaround patients will avoid getting vaccinated instead -- and then wind up in an emergency room.