Quebec to require three shots for 'adequate protection', those who got COVID-19 urged to get boosted sooner
Quebec public health released new directives for people to get boosted "as soon as possible," including those who recently had COVID-19, as the province prepares to make three doses the minimum to be considered "adequately protected."
Quebec announced the upcoming changes in a Wednesday press release, as it prepares to open eligibility for third doses to all Quebec adults on Friday.
The three doses will be required for Quebec's vaccine passport, which is needed to enter government alcohol and cannabis retailers, as well as restaurant dining rooms, bars, and other environments which are presently closed.
However, the release did not specify exacly when the change will happen.
"When the entire population has had the opportunity to receive their booster dose, the 'adequately protected' status for the vaccine passport will increase to three doses," the news release read.
'AS SOON AS POSSIBLE,' EVEN IF YOU WERE JUST SICK
"In the current epidemiological context, it is recommended that all people who wish, including those who have recently had COVID-19, be able to obtain a booster dose against COVID-19 as soon as possible," read the release.
"People who have contracted COVID-19 will be able to get the booster dose as soon as their illness resolves, that is, when the symptoms end."
This marks a change in public health guidance from the province. As of Wednesday, the government's online booking portal, Clic Santé, was still recommending people wait "eight weeks after the beginning of your symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test" before scheduling an appointment for a third dose of the vaccine.
CTV News has asked the Ministry of Health and Social Services to clarify the new recommendation.
COVID-19 VARIANT 'DUAL SURGE': DOCTOR
While it remains unclear just how much immunity a person can get after catching any one variant of COVID-19, the presence of more than one makes the waters muddier.
While a significant portion of Quebec's population fell ill with COVID-19 during the province's explosive and ongoing Omicron wave, the previously-dominant Delta variant was still circulating.
As community transmission grew, and tests became harder to come by, it's not so easy to say, at this point, who got Delta and who got Omicron.
Dr. Donald Vinh, an infectious disease specialist with the McGill University Health Centre, said that it's still unclear whether antibodies from a Delta infection will protect against the Omicron variant, and that early data from South Africa suggests they will not.
"And so we don't want to be necessarily grouping these two groups of people together," he told CTV News. "The purpose of a third dose is to protect you against the predominant circulating variant."
Vinh said that, in an ideal world where everyone knew which variant they contracted, vaccination timeframes would vary for each group.
"We don't think that if you've been infected with Omicron, you can get reinfected with Omicron in the short term," he said, estimating that term to last about four to six weeks, but we still can't be sure because "we don't have data."
"So for a directive to say if you had a recent infection, once your symptoms are over go get your booster dose, I think it lacks a little bit of the intellectual thought process here."
With files from CTV Montreal's Joe Lofaro
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