MONTREAL -- Many health care workers in Quebec are still reluctant to be vaccinated, according to recent information by the Ministry of Health.

In CHSLDs across the province, 51 per cent of support staff, 64 per cent of nursing assistants and 67 per cent of orderlies have received the vaccine.

The Estrie and Mauricie-Centre-du-Québec regions are the poorest performers when it comes to vaccinating support staff in CHSLDs, with rates of 42.1 per cent and 43.6 per cent.

About 57 per cent of aides are vaccinated in Laval, Maurice-Centre-du-Québec and the Outaouais, according to a table provided by the ministry.

Similarly, immunization rates among nursing assistants are below 60 per cent in three regions: Estrie, Laval and Mauricie-Centre-du-Québec.

Nevertheless, vaccination seems to be more popular among clinical nurses; the lowest rate (63 per cent) is in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.

The Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ) said last week it was concerned about the lack of interest in vaccination among CHSLD employees.

Liberal health critic Marie Montpetit insists the data remained "worrisome."

"We want to make sure that improvements in vaccination rates are reflected in places where it will be all the more important if we don't want to see outbreaks again," she said.

The immunization of health workers started in December 2020 and a decree was adopted in April to make them compulsory for employees who come into contact with patients.

Health Minister Christian Dubé explains inoculations are happening in waves, and after a "discussion" with unions and staff, has jumped by 20 per cent in the last 10 days.

"We have 75 per cent of nurses vaccinated and that, to me, is the good news," he said. "Secondly, we still have many appointments booked these days to get vaccinated."

Dubé recalls some of the legitimate fears and worries people had at the beginning of the vaccination campaign in the CHSLDs.

"There were a lot of people who, quite naturally, had questions and there are many health workers who...decided to take a step back," he said. "This explain why, in some regions...there are people who have decided not to be vaccinated."

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021.