Quebec authorities ask people to be patient as they outline new flu shot system
During a Wednesday press conference, officials told Quebecers to be patient as the government expands its flu vaccination capacity with extra time slots.
The Ministry of Health confirmed it has bought more than two million doses of the flu vaccine for vulnerable people to get for free.
The Quebec government's vaccination campaign officially begins Sunday, and the lead-up has been chaotic, with the province promising that today's update would help lay out how the system will work.
Demand this year for the shots has been higher than ever, and the province planned for that, upping its order of the flu shot from 1.6 million to two million in June.
However, demand has still been so high that Quebecers have had a hard time figuring out when and how to get the shots.
When the doses arrive, appointments will be offered immediately, ministry authorities said Wednesday. They also ask those who are not high-risk to wait a couple of weeks before getting the shot.
With two million doses, the province has 30 per cent more shots than last year, according to the ministry.
Officials say they are hopeful that they will have enough for those at risk of serious complications: people aged 75 and over, those living with chronic diseases and pregnant women in the second and third trimesters of their pregnancy.
To reduce the risk of transmission, the vaccine is also free for relatives who live under the same roof as a child under six months old, or a person at high risk of hospitalization or death. The same goes for their caregivers, as well as health care workers.
Unlike previous years, all vaccination will be done by appointment only. There will be no mass vaccination clinics, given the context of the pandemic.
The province has called on pharmacies to offer vaccinations, adding many new locations to get the shot.
The Ministry of Health expects a milder influenza season than in previous years, it said. That’s based on data from Australia, where the season begins before Quebec's.
This report was first published by The Canadian Press on Oct. 28, 2020.