More Quebec essential workers, people with high-risk health conditions can book vaccines as of Wednesday
MONTREAL -- Even more Quebecers will soon be eligible to get their COVID-19 vaccines, though a set of contradictory announcements on Tuesday created yet more confusion about the rollout.
As of Wednesday, throughout the province, certain essential workers "at high risk of outbreak" will be able to book appointments to get first doses of the vaccine.
In addition, some Quebecers with severe chronic health conditions that put them at increased risk of complications from COVID-19 will be able to start getting shots from their doctors.
Prior to the announcement, only those in both groups who lived in Montreal were eligible.
Those with the following health conditions are now eligible, across Quebec, though there is no need for them to take action to book a shot -- they will be receiving the vaccine from their treating doctor.
- People currently hospitalized with a condition that puts them at a high risk for COVID-19
- Patients being treated in hospitals for dialysis
- Some transplant recipients
- People receiving frequent hospital treatment for cancer
- People who needed to receive a dose under the supervision of a hospital allergist
That's the same group of patients that were previously able to get vaccines in Montreal.
A similar expansion will apply on Wednesday for "high-risk" essential workers across Quebec -- the same group that became eligible on Friday only in Montreal.
The affected essential workers are:
- Primary and secondary school staff
- Childcare centre staff
- Public security personnel such as firefighters, police and corrections facility staff
- Temporary foreign workers in the agricultural sector
- Slaughterhouse staff
- Personnel working in the mining sector in remote regions
- Workers from community organizations supported by the Support Program for Community Organizations
According to the Health Ministry, most of those workers will be able to register for their appointments online, though proof of employment will be required at the vaccination site.
CONFUSION AFTER LEGAULT COMMENTS
Confusion has reigned in Quebec's vaccine rollout in the past few weeks after a series of contradictory announcements -- a pattern Legault continued on Tuesday, first giving the wrong information at his press conference.
Legault said that "all" essential workers and people with health conditions that put them at elevated risk of COVID-19 would be eligible to begin booking their shots.
But the health ministry later followed up with a written announcement that made it clear Legault's statement had been too broad, outlining a much narrower range of eligibility.
The order of the rollout is also not exactly in keeping with what the province first described this winter when it announced its priority groups.
At the start of the vaccination campaign, the province began working through these priority groups, which were largely based on age. But it ended up changing the order somewhat in the past two weeks.
When it reached categories eight and nine – those with chronic illnesses and essential workers, respectively – the groups were subdivided, with the most urgent portions of each group going first. Of those, only the ones who lived in Montreal had access at first.