Province opens up vaccine booster a week early for Quebecers 18 and over

·2 min read

With students across Quebec returning to school this week, the provincial government and the Quebec Public Health Institute opened up eligibility to a new COVID-19 booster vaccine a week earlier than planned in an effort to curb further transmission of the virus.

Quebec Public Health Institute head Dr. Luc Boileau announced adults of all ages could book their appointments starting earlier this week, instead of next week as had been planned.

“We want to insist that there are several measures in place to protect themselves and protect those around them as they return to their regular fall activities,” he said, citing vaccination as the main one.

The provincial government has vowed that there will be no more sanitary health measures to accommodate for the virus, other than vaccines and isolation guidelines in the case of a positive test.

A bivalent vaccine targeting both the original strain of COVID-19 and the incredibly contagious Omicron variant should be available to Quebecers in less than two weeks, Boileau added, should Health Canada approve the bivalent vaccine from Moderna and Pfizer.

Boileau said once a bivalent shot is available it will immediately replace the older-generation vaccines across the province.

Additionally, teens aged 12 to 17 who have received two doses of the vaccine will also be able to get a third shot in Quebec.

The idea is to get a booster shot if it has been at least five months since their last shot, or three months since they were most recently infected with the virus.

Public Health’s immunization committee is also on the verge of approving a booster for vulnerable kids aged 5 to 11, Boileau added

As classes start, the government will be handing out two kits of rapid tests to each student – and there will be more will be given out after that period, too, he added.

Boileau reminded parents to test their children if they are experiencing symptoms and to keep them home if they test positive. Under the province’s rules, anyone who contracts COVID-19 must isolate for five days. After that period, children will still need to limit their activities and wear a mask when with others for the following five days.

Schools will be able to administer rapid tests to any student who has COVID-19 symptoms.

Disinfection measures will also be in place.

Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase