In the upcoming autumn season, Quebec is set to recommend an additional dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine specifically for individuals who are at risk or vulnerable. The Ministry of Health and Social Services has highlighted that a modified vaccine designed to effectively counteract the emerging variants of the virus is currently undergoing the approval process by Health Canada. Once the regulatory approval is secured, a comprehensive vaccination campaign is poised to kick off in Quebec, anticipated to commence in October.
The impetus behind this vaccination initiative stems from the guidance provided by both the Quebec Immunization Committee (CIQ) and Dr. Luc Boileau, the Director of Public Health in Quebec. The collective advice underscores the importance of targeting individuals who are particularly susceptible to the virus due to their living conditions or underlying health conditions. This notably includes residents of long-term care facilities such as CHSLDs (residential and long-term care centers) and RPAs (private residences for the elderly), as well as those residing in environments characterized by a significant concentration of vulnerable elderly individuals.
Moreover, within the identified category of at-risk individuals, the following subgroups are included: individuals aged 60 and above, pregnant women, healthcare personnel, individuals residing in geographically isolated or remote areas, and those with compromised immune systems, individuals undergoing dialysis, or those managing chronic illnesses.
While the primary emphasis is on prioritizing vulnerable populations, the new vaccine will also be accessible to individuals who proactively seek to safeguard themselves. Distribution points for the vaccine will encompass vaccination and screening centers, as well as community pharmacies. It’s important to note that concurrent with the vaccine distribution, the authorities will continue to provide free-of-charge rapid COVID-19 screening tests at vaccination and screening centers, with the modification that these tests will be exclusively available in pharmacies solely for the benefit of vulnerable groups.
Additionally, supplies of these screening tests are still readily accessible in educational institutions, including schools and childcare centers, aiming to ensure a comprehensive approach to tackling the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic.