MONTREAL -- Nearly 1,500 community pharmacies across Quebec will offer influenza vaccination services starting next Monday. 

The Association québécoise des pharmaciens propriétaires (AQPP) reports that during last year's campaign, more than one third of Quebecers who were vaccinated against influenza were vaccinated in pharmacies.

Last winter, the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS) ended the vaccination campaign on Jan. 8, having observed that the spread of influenza had greatly diminished and that the influenza activity index had been almost zero since April 2020 across Canada.

According to the vaccination registry, nearly 1.5 million doses were administered in Quebec during last year's influenza vaccination campaign.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, several measures put in place to limit contact between people, such as physical distancing, wearing masks, and more frequent hand washing have helped reduce the transmission of other respiratory viruses.

However, the Public Health Agency of Canada warns that the flu season will be quite intense in Canada over the next few months.

Quebecers can make an appointment now on the Clic Santé webtsite and check if their community pharmacy is on the list of vaccination sites.

This year, the Quebec government said vaccination will be free for people aged 6 months to 74 years old with a chronic disease, including pregnant women, regardless of their stage of pregnancy.

Pregnant women in their 2nd and 3rd trimesters who do not have a chronic disease also have access to free vaccination, as do people aged 75 and over, as well as family members who live in the same household as a child under 6 months of age or a person at high risk of hospitalization or death, and their caregivers.

Health-care workers, healthy seniors aged 60 to 74, and healthy children aged 6 to 23 months are also eligible for free immunization.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Oct. 28, 2021.