By Gordon Lambie
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé announced Tuesday afternoon that all Quebecers 70 and up will soon be able to get a COVID-19 booster shot if they want to.
Dubé said that the decision was made based on an observation that the immune response in vaccinated people over the age of 80 tended to decrease six months after their second dose.
While stressing that the booster shot is not required, he said that the rollout for bookings through the ClicSante website begins on Nov. 16 with those 80 and up, continuing Nov. 18 with those 75 and up, and on Nov. 23 for those 70 and up.
Those under the age of 70 have not yet shown any decreased immune response and are therefore not considered to be at any greater risk.
An MRNA booster shot will also be available (but not required) for those individuals who received two shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine, starting Nov. 25. Daniel Paré, the Director of Quebec’s vaccination campaign, clarified that this booster is specifically for people who got both their first and second dose with either the AstraZeneca or CoviSheild vaccines, and not those who mixed doses with either Pfizer or Moderna.
Those looking to get a booster must wait at least six months after their second dose.
While the health minister acknowledged that the online booking system is more complicated for many older Quebecers, he called on caregivers, family, and friends who might be more familiar to lend a hand to less tech-savvy seniors because, “(ClicSante) is the easiest way.”
Although there was no update on the status of vaccine approval for children aged 5-11 on Tuesday, Dubé reiterated the province’s readiness to go ahead once given the green light and said that the new booster shot campaign should not impact the ability to vaccinate all children.
“We have the capacity to do this,” he said.
The province reported 545 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday bringing the total number of people infected to 430,940 with 5,219 active cases. There were six new deaths recorded, for a total of 11,528, and 219 hospitalizations; a decrease of six compared to the previous day.
The number of people in intensive care also went down, dropping by three to 45 people.
The provincial institute of public health, the INSPQ, reported 535 active cases in the Eastern Townships, a slight increase over the previous day’s report from the regional public health department. The Haut-Saint-François, Granit, and Sherbrooke areas are those with the highest level of infection in relation to their populations and represent more than 70 per cent of all the cases in the Townships.
There were eight people in hospital for Covid in the region, one of whom was in intensive care.
By Gordon Lambie