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Quebec public health institute publishes COVID-19 vaccination recommendations

A woman receives a COVID-19 booster vaccine dose at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Monday, Dec. 27, 2021. (Graham Hughes, The Canadian Press) A woman receives a COVID-19 booster vaccine dose at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Monday, Dec. 27, 2021. (Graham Hughes, The Canadian Press)
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The COVID-19 situation in Quebec is continuing to evolve, and certain population groups remain more vulnerable to the virus. This week, the Quebec Public Health Institute (INSPQ) published its vaccination recommendations for the spring of 2024.

People vaccinated against COVID-19 are less likely to develop a serious illness, but this protection gradually diminishes over the six months following vaccination. A booster dose is, therefore, necessary to maintain adequate protection, the INSPQ pointed out in its most recent advisory.

Serious complications from COVID-19 are much more common in people aged 80 and over. In this age group, around one infected person in 30 needs to be hospitalized.

In the 60 to 79 age group, the frequency of hospitalizations and deaths is lower, except for people living with a chronic illness.

A booster dose in the spring of 2024 could prevent "an appreciable number" of serious cases of COVID-19 among the most vulnerable, the INSPQ said.

The institute cautions, however, that the precise contribution of such a vaccination remains difficult to assess "given the paucity of efficacy studies specific to the XBB.1.5 monovalent vaccine and the possibility that variants increasingly distant from the vaccine strain will circulate during 2024."

On the basis of this information, the Quebec Immunization Committee (CIQ) is recommending a dose of monovalent XBB.1.5 vaccine in the spring for seniors aged 80 and over, as well as for people who are immunocompromised or on dialysis.

This recommendation also applies to residents of long-term care centres (CHSLDs) and residences for the elderly (RPAs).

According to INSPQ data, as of March 19, 661 people currently in hospital had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, including both old and new cases.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on March 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press health content receives funding through a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. The Canadian Press is solely responsible for editorial choices. 

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