Quebec to broaden vaccine eligibility for chronic illnesses in Thursday announcement
MONTREAL -- After a few weeks of confusing mixed messaging for Quebecers with chronic illnesses, a clearer system will be unveiled Thursday, said provincial health minister Christian Dubé on Tuesday.
"We will clarify all of this on Thursday," he said.
"We will give a precise date where people can start to make appointments," he said. "I want to be very clear: when we make the announcement, the list will be detailed... we will make sure that we broaden the categories of chronic illnesses."
An additional shipment of Pfizer doses is allowing Quebec to officially open up eligibility, Dubé said, acknowledging that health officials have been flooded with calls and questions from people with health conditions.
He said he reads all the comments, has "empathy" for people in this group, and wanted to reiterate they will have access before the general population.
The province is looking at people with chronic conditions as well as people with handicaps, whether intellectual or physical, Dubé said.
There has been much of this kind of vaccination already happening outside of the province's written rules. Many people with relatively minor conditions have already reported being able to get vaccines through their pharmacies in recent weeks, though they weren't yet officially eligible.
Meanwhile, the only group made officially eligible was a small group of seriously ill patients getting frequent treatment in hospitals, including cancer patients and people on dialysis, who were supposed to get shots at the hospital. However, many of them have reported having trouble doing so.
Dubé said the province now plans to open up eligibility in the most official way, through the Clic-Santé booking website, and he said that people with certain health conditions will be able to visit mass vaccination centres as well as pharmacies.
However, provincial leaders just "made that decision this morning," he said Tuesday, so they need two more days to iron out the details.