Antonietta Pollice, 97, who lives with dementia, was recently transferred between care facilities. Her daughter, Patrizia Di Biase, said the first facility, CHSLD Herron, gave Pollice a dose of the Moderna vaccine on January 7.
The government, CIUSSS, they've got to really organize themselves better.
Patrizia Di Biase
She was apparently then transferred to another facility, CHSLD Joseph-François-Perrault, on January 11 and was given a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine dose on January 22.
This happened despite the fact that her daughter allegedly told the team she had already received a first dose of the Moderna vaccine.
Di Biase told MTL Blog that she confirmed that her mother's medical files followed her to the new facility.
"Well we can't do anything about it," Di Biase said she was told by a nurse. She then decided to make some calls to see what the next move would be.
Di Biase said she eventually got in touch with the social worker who helped with her mother's move, who reached out to Santé Publique. When the organization contacted her, they allegedly told her it shouldn't be a problem since the two are essentially the same.
"Yes, but it's never been tested," she replied.
Despite some initial side effects, including fever and low blood-pressure, Di Biase was told her mother is doing better.
"But it's not that — We don't know anything about two different drugs being put into your system," she told MTL Blog.
"They're just saying, 'I'm sorry.'"
"I'm sorry, but 'I'm sorry' doesn't really work. It should never happen again. They have to be dotting their I's, crossing their T's and checking it two, three times."
They'll be using carrot-and-stick tactics with community outreach in one hand and a proposed tax in the other.
Lionel Carmant | Facebook
Quebec is hoping to chip away at the number of unvaccinated people in the province by targeting local areas with lower vaccination rates in a campaign that will include setting up hotlines, pop-up clinics and other outreach projects.
"We're going to intensify our efforts in order to establish strategies in areas with lower vaccination rates, in order to connect with the most people possible," said Dr. Lionel Carmant, Quebec's junior health minister, who is spearheading the campaign, in a news conference on January 24.
"We want to meet people on the ground, explain the benefits of vaccination, using a positive approach."
The carrot of this positive approach could be seen as a sharp contrast to the stick of the government's proposed tax on the unvaccinated, and other measures – but Carmant brushed off suggestions of conflict.
"I think it's important to make sure that as many people as possible get their first doses," Carmant said. He added that the more people they reach in this new initiative, "the fewer people will be paying the vaccination tax."
He said the campaign would mainly target people in marginalized and vulnerable communities – more than those who believe they are in good health and don't need a vaccine. He also vowed that these efforts to get more people on board would not be used to gather personal information with the proposed tax in mind.
"My goal is not to reinvent the wheel," Carmant said of these new efforts. "It's to make existing measures more effective."
Despite being a small fraction of the population, the unvaccinated are over-represented in hospitals, especially intensive care, Carmant said.
"There are nonetheless around 540,000 Quebecers who have not yet gotten their first dose," he said. "It's important to note that this isn't just a risk on paper, but genuine risk that is becoming a reality right now in our hospitals."
A pop-up clinic will open in downtown Montreal, Carmant said, with more planned, and health officials will work with local organizations and leaders to reach specific communities.
As of January 24, 85.5% of eligible Quebecers have received their first dose of the vaccine, and a total 17,165,403 doses have been administered, according to Quebec government data. 668,956 people got a shot in the last week. An additional 455,130 doses are scheduled to be administered this week.
Quebec has been making life increasingly difficult for people reluctant to get vaccinated for some time. The activation of the vaccine passport on September 1 2021 meant the unvaccinated had to forget about bars, restaurants, clubs, cinemas, sporting events and many other leisure and entertainment pursuits.
Not long after, larger retail stores – excluding grocery stores and pharmacies – were added to the list. That restriction takes effect today, January 24.
At a national and global level, travel restrictions enacted by Canada and most other countries mean Canadians who are not vaccinated can't leave the country. Over the weekend, new U.S. policy came into effect preventing anyone without proof of vaccination from entering the country via land borders.
Judge Sébastien Vaillancourt of the Quebec Superior Court has suspended a father's visitation rights due to the man being unvaccinated against COVID-19.
It's no secret that the Québec government has imposed a handful of restrictions on unvaccinated populations, including Premier Legault's most recent plans to significantly tax the unvaccinated. But it seems as if the personal decision to get vaccinated or not is creating major issues for one Montreal father.
Judge Vaillancourt temporarily barred the man from visiting his 12-year-old son in a December 23 ruling after he attempted to change his custody arrangement for part of the holiday season.
The father had petitioned for a review of his access rights, requesting to see his son between December 30, 2021, and January 9, 2022. The boy's mother contested the request after learning that the man was not vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a court document.
Considering the rampant spread of the Omicron variant, Vaillancourt wrote that while it would normally be in the best interest of the child to see his father, he believed the current epidemiological situation mandated otherwise.
The child, who is currently vaccinated with both doses, also lives with his 7-month-old and 4-year-old half-siblings.
The judge said he also weighed the risk of infection spreading to the younger children, who are not eligible for vaccination, in his decision to suspend visitation rights until at least February 8, 2022.
When the father was questioned regarding his decision to remain unvaccinated, he made clear he had "reservations," but did not explain what they were, Vaillancourt wrote in the decision.
The court further pointed to several of the father's Facebook posts indicating doubts about government health rules, suggesting, Vaillancourt said, that he is a "conspiracy theorist" and undermining his claims that he follows public health measures.
The suspension can be re-evaluated depending on the evolution of the COVID-19 situation, and whether the man abides by health regulations and chooses to get vaccinated. The father is currently set for another hearing on February 8.
A recent post on the agency's official Twitter account states that "the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will now be named Comirnaty, the Moderna vaccine will be named SpikeVax, and the AstraZeneca vaccine will be named Vaxzevria."
(1/4) Health Canada has authorized brand name changes for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.
— Health Canada and PHAC (@Health Canada and PHAC)
Health Canada asserted that "these are only name changes. There are no changes to the vaccines themselves."
Canada has four approved vaccines: Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech), SpikeVax (Moderna), Vaxzervia (AstraZeneca), and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).
"All COVID-19 vaccines authorized in Canada are proven safe, effective and of high quality," Health Canada wrote on Twitter.
"We, the undersigned, demand that the Government of Quebec publicly reject, as of now, the idea of a mandatory vaccination passport and that it commit itself to do like the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has done, that is to say, prohibit the obligation to present a vaccination passport in order to attend certain events and practice certain activities," the petition states.
Samson, a former Coalition Avenir Québec member who switched sides in June, held a press conference about the petition alongside Conservative Party of Quebec leader Eric Duhaime on August 12. They explained that the party had already collected 133,000 signatures on a previous petition that did not meet the criteria of the National Assembly.
"We reviewed the wording [...] So we're going to ask these hundreds of thousands of people to re-sign their petition on the National Assembly website, and we're going to invite Quebecers who don't agree with the vaccine passport to come forward as well," Samson said.
The petition, which was posted to the National Assembly website on August 12, had garnered more than 75,000 signatures at the time this article was published.