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Quebec changes COVID-19 vaccine recommendations

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Quebec's Health Ministry announced Friday that it now recommends a single dose of the new COVID-19 vaccine for individuals considered at risk.

"A single dose of the new vaccine, administered this fall, is now sufficient for a person to be considered adequately protected," the Health Ministry said. "The number of vaccine doses to be administered is no longer influenced by previous infections or by the number of doses already received."

Vaccination is recommended in particular for people at greater risk of developing complications:

  • people living in CHSLDs, RPAs or other collective living arrangements with a high proportion of elderly and vulnerable people;
  • people aged 60 and over;
  • people aged six months and over who are immunocompromised, on dialysis or considered to be at high risk of complications;
  • health care workers;
  • pregnant women;
  • adults living in remote and isolated areas.

The change follows a decision by the province's public health department based on a recommendation issued by the Comité d'immunisation du Québec (CIQ).

Additional guidelines on COVID-19 vaccinations are expected to be issued at a later date, depending on the evolution of the disease and the arrival of future variants.

This new "simplified" approach applies to most of the population.

"A special exception applies to immunocompromised people who have never been vaccinated against COVID-19, for whom an additional dose of vaccine is recommended," the Ministry states. "For children under the age of five, the recommendations remain the same as those given to parents at the time of vaccination."

Recent data on the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis have also prompted health officials to withdraw their recommendation promoting the Pfizer vaccine in people aged 12 to 29.

"Both vaccines [Pfizer and Moderna] may now be used without preference," the Ministry said.

The recommended interval between infection and vaccination remains at six months, but a three-month timelapse can be allowed in certain circumstances.

The government says more than 830,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Quebec since the launch of this fall's campaign.

Vaccination against COVID-19 remains free for anyone aged six months or over. 

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