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Quebec rolling out COVID-19 vaccination campaign Oct. 2 for vulnerable groups

Quebec announced Thursday that a new vaccination campaign for the seasonal flu and COVID-19 will be rolled out on Oct. 2 for vulnerable people.

The target population includes people who are at higher risk of complications from the coronavirus or other respiratory infections, such as people in CHSLDs and seniors' residences.

On Oct. 10, the fall campaign will be expanded to the general population. Residents can book a vaccination appointment on the government's online Clic Sante platform or by calling 1-877-644-4545.

As with the COVID vaccine, the flu shot will also be offered for free to everyone, instead of just to high risk groups as it has been most years in the past, except for last season, when the government officially expanded the offer.

Public Health Director Dr. Luc Boileau made the announcement Thursday with Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh, president of Quebec's immunization committee (CIQ), during a news conference in Montreal.

For now, the latest Moderna vaccine, approved by Health Canada earlier this month, is being made freely available to Quebecers.

The shots will be administered in pharmacies and other points of service within the health-care network. Quebec's pharmacy association announced that the health service will be free of charge throughout its 1,473 locations in the province.

Boileau said this time around, there isn't a need for large vaccination centres, like the Olympic Stadium, to roll out the doses. Rapid antigen tests will also remain available in several points of service, Boileau said, including pharmacies, businesses and schools. 

The health officials urged people who are 60 and older, pregnant women, parents of babies under 6 months, health-care workers, people with underlying conditions, and other at-risk populations to get the vaccine right away.

"There's a vaccine that has been updated for what's going around. I think now's the time to get it because the last thing we want is for those people to end up being admitted [ to hospital]," Quach-Thanh said.

If people do get sick, she recommended people follow "respiratory etiquette."

"Regardless of the virus that you have — if you have fever, runny nose, cough, whatever — you try to stay away from others. If you have to go out, you wear a mask," she said. 

Health Canada also announced Thursday it has authorized Pfizer-BioNTech's new COVID-19 vaccine that targets the Omicron XBB.1.5 subvariant for people six months and older.

"After a thorough and independent review of the evidence, Health Canada has determined that the vaccine meets the department's stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements," Health Canada said in a news release.

Quebecers can expect to get the Pfizer vaccine in the coming weeks if they want it, but Quach-Thanh said people can get either Moderna or Pfizer regardless of previous vaccination. 


The fall vaccine campaign is coming on the heels of an uptick in infections in recent weeks. According to the provincial health ministry, there were 4,091 new COVID-19 infections for the week of Sept. 17 to 23 and 43 new deaths were recorded.

As of Thursday, there were 1,312 people in hospital with the coronavirus, including 29 in intensive care.

Dr. Donald Vinh, a specialist at the McGill University Health Centre, said COVID-19 is "making a comeback" in Quebec. In an interview with CTV News earlier this week, he said Quebec's public health institute estimates there are between 18,000 to 29,000 new cases daily, and that the numbers being made available are likely an underestimate.

"And they're also a few weeks old. But all this tells us that there's a significant increase now over what was happening in August," he said at the time.

"And over the same time, there's also been a doubling in the number of hospitalizations directly caused by COVID to now about 300 beds. So COVID is making a comeback." Top Stories

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