December 3, 2023

Many Quebecers will be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu as early as next next week. 

In a news conference on Thursday, Quebec’s public health director announced that people in long-term care homes (CHSLDS) and private seniors’ residences will be able to get both shots as of Monday Oct. 2.

Everyone else will be able to get the vaccines starting Oct. 10.

People will be able to get both the updated COVID-19 vaccine and this year’s flu vaccine within the same appointment, Boileau said.

“We’ve done it in the past, administering those two vaccines at the same time, most notably last year, and not just in Quebec, elsewhere in the world,” Boileau said. “And everything went well so there are no concerns on that front.” 

Boileau said people who wish to get vaccinated can now book a time slot through the Clic Santé website or by calling 1-877-644-4545 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. from Monday to Friday.

Vaccines are free and optional, but Boileau is urging people who are the most at risk of suffering complications from an infection to get them.

Vaccination and screening centres, as well as local pharmacies, will be offering the new boosters better tailored to the currently circulating Omicron subvariants of COVID-19.

Earlier this week, Health Minister Christian Dubé said while the province is seeing an increase in people hospitalized with COVID-19, “the good news” is that intensive care cases remain stable.

Pfizer-BioNTech’s updated COVID-19 vaccine was approved by Health Canada on Thursday. Moderna’s was approved earlier this month. 

Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at the CHU Sainte-Justine and the president of Quebec’s immunization committee, said people who are at risk should get the Moderna shot given that it’s available, even if they have a preference for the one from Pfizer, which is expected to be available in the coming weeks.

WATCH | How to find COVID-19 tests in Quebec: 

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High-dose flu vaccine to be available in pharmacies

As of Oct. 10, 1,473 pharmacies in the province will be involved in the fall vaccination campaign. 

According to the Association des bannières et des chaînes de pharmacies du Québec (ABCPQ), which represents pharmacies across the province, its members will also offer the Fluzone high-dose vaccine for free for the first time.

In the past, pharmacies needed to refer patients who met the criteria for the higher-dose to vaccination centres.

Pharmacies will also offer the FluMistMC, which is a spray vaccine for children between the ages of two and 17 who would prefer to avoid being injected.

Old COVID-19 rapid tests are still usable, Boileau says

The vaccination campaign comes as mask mandates are being reintroduced in some health-care settings. 

Last week, the health authority in Quebec’s Eastern Townships reintroduced the measure for staff and visitors in hospitals, CLSCs and long-term care homes.

Wearing a mask is also now mandatory for relatives and visitors who enter a patient’s room.

On Wednesday, Quebec City’s health centre, known as the CHU de Québec, also imposed the wearing of masks by both hospital staff and patients during medical examinations as well as in consultation rooms. 

On Wednesday, Quebec City’s health centre, known as the CHU de Québec, also imposed the wearing of masks by both hospital staff and patients during medical examinations as well as in consultation rooms. 

Boileau stressed that boxes of rapid COVID-19 testing kits that people have at home are still usable and accurate, even if many were distributed more than a year ago.

“Those tests are still good,” he said. “When they’ll expire, we will be sure to announce it but for now there are no concerns.”

Rapid tests are available free of charge to anyone who wants one at Quebec’s various vaccination and screening centres, in schools and daycares.

Many pharmacies also offer them, but the free ones are reserved for vulnerable and at-risk members of the population, people covered by Quebec’s public drug plan, youths age 14 to 17 and full-time students up to the age of 25.


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