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Quebecers booked 1M vaccination appointments for COVID-19, the flu: Health Ministry

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Many Quebecers are making vaccination appointments ahead of winter, when respiratory viruses are more easily transmitted.

"We have reached the milestone of one million appointments for vaccination against flu and COVID-19," Health Minister Christian Dubé posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday.

"We are observing a positive trend to act more in prevention, let's continue in this direction by making an appointment to be vaccinated if you have not already done so."

According to data shared with The Canadian Press, the total number of appointments was 1,063,163 as of late Friday afternoon.

Of these, over 195,500 appointments were made for the COVID-19 vaccine, 227,000 were made for the flu vaccine, and 600,000 were made to get both at the same time.

Appointments can be booked on the Clic Santé website.

The vaccines have been offered free of charge not only to the most vulnerable, but to the general population since Oct. 10. The announcement was made at a press conference a few days earlier by the National Director of Public Health, Dr. Luc Boileau.

He specified that the groups most at risk of developing complications from influenza or COVID-19 are people over 60, pregnant people, immunosuppressed people, people with chronic diseases and people living in the same household or caregivers of the groups mentioned, in addition to healthcare workers.

Those who aren't part of those targeted groups can still receive a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if they are over six months old.

The pneumococcal vaccine is also offered to certain population groups.

The Quebec government has created some 150 points of service for vaccinations, but did not plan to recreate massive sites as was done at Montreal's Olympic Stadium during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It will also be possible to get flu and COVID-19 shots in pharmacies.

The launch of this campaign coincides with the arrival of new vaccines developed to counter the multiple variants of COVID-19, including the fast-growing XBB.1.5 sub-variant. This includes the latest Moderna vaccine. Pfizer-BioNTech's Comirnaty, which Health Canada has given the green light, will also be available soon.

The campaign will be financed entirely from the $270 million envelope set aside in the Quebec government's last budget specifically for vaccination campaigns.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Oct. 21, 2023.  

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