Quebec's Ministry of Health has announced that it's almost time to get your flu shot and outlined some guidelines on how to get one. Luckily, it's really easy to get your flu shot in Quebec!
While getting your flu shot isn't mandatory, the health ministry recommends that the following individuals get one:
"people aged 75 and over;
"children 6 months and older as well as adults (including pregnant women, regardless of the stage of their pregnancy) living with: diabetes; a weakened immune system; heart disease; lung disease; kidney disease;"
and "pregnant women in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of their pregnancy."
Vaccination contre la grippe saisonnière - L’opération de vaccination débutera sous peu ➡️Pour consulter le communi… https://t.co/C9qud5sTT0
The flu vaccine is free for these priority groups.
The Health Ministry says the flu vaccine is also free for "family members who live in the same household as a child under 6 months of age or a person at high risk of hospitalization or death, as well as their caregivers, and for health care workers, especially those who provide direct patient care."
Quebec will commence its flu shot campaign on November 1 but Quebecers can book an appointment for their flu shot on the Clic Santé portal now.
This article’s right-hand cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
A formal letter sent by the Quebec government to the president of the Conseil des médecins du Québec has warned that some health care workers have planned to get a doctor's note in order to be exempt from the mandatory vaccination in their field.
If health care workers do try to get a medical exemption from vaccination, they must follow the province's specific documentation guidelines.
"Several institutions have brought to our attention that some employees were planning to ask their attending physician for a medical certificate contradicting the vaccination or prescribing a work stoppage [...] in order to avoid the measures provided for in the upcoming decree, including reassignment or withdrawal from work without pay," the letter from the Ministry of Health reads.
The ministry made clear that "any supporting document indicating a contraindication to vaccination other than those provided for in the Protocole d'immunisation du Québec (PIQ), a work stoppage for 'medical reasons' or a ticket without a diagnosis will be refused outright."
"Occupational health and safety departments and their designated physicians will be very vigilant when submitting medical documentation related to vaccination."
Quebec health and social service workers need to be vaccinated by October 15 or risk suspension without pay. Premier François Legault and Health Minister Christian Dubé made the announcement Tuesday, citing an increase in cases and the threat of the Delta variant.
The measure applies to workers in both the public and private sectors.
La vaccination obligatoire des travailleurs de la santé dans les milieux de soins, publics et privés, assure un env… https://t.co/uO9enJfIIL
In a subsequent press release, the Ministry of Health said that the rule specifically targets workers with direct contact with patients, and other employees who have contact with those workers, including "physicians, midwives, professionals in private clinics, and volunteers."
The ministry further stated the measure will "primarily" apply in:
"local community service centres;
all public and private long-term care facilities;
"child and youth protection centres;
other "private institutions under contract" with the health and social services network;
"intermediate and family-type resources;
"private residences for seniors;
"family medicine groups;
"ambulance service licensees and the Corporation d'Urgences-santé;
"medical imaging laboratories offering public services;
"social economy enterprises in at-home care;"
and "certain community groups who provide services to vulnerable persons."
The government added that workers in these areas who do not present proof of vaccination or a contraindication (defined by the government of Canada as "a situation in which a drug, such as a vaccine, should not be used because the risk outweighs any potential therapeutic benefit") maybe be reassigned "if possible."
If they can't be reassigned or refuse to present vaccination proof, they "will not be able to return to work and will not receive any compensation," according to the ministry.
It added that as of August 25, 91% of health and social services workers had received a first dose, and 86% had received a second dose.
Following Friday reports from La Presse and the Journal de Montréal that hackers had successfully accessed the QR code proof of vaccination of some elected leaders, including, according to the reports, those of Premier François Legault and Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, Quebec's Ministry of Health (MSSS) put out a strongly-worded statement announcing that "formal complaints" have been made to police.
Health Minister Christian Dubé, whose QR code was also reportedly hacked, insisted on Twitter that the QR codes are secure.
Comme mentionné par @TresorQc @ericcaire, le code QR est sécuritaire. Le code QR et les renseignements personnels q… https://t.co/w7yL6kv6v5
"The QR code and the personal information it contains cannot be used without the consent of the individuals," Dubé wrote. "Violators are subject to civil/criminal prosecution." The ministry said authorities will investigate whether criminal charges should be laid after the hacking incident.
The MSSS further stated that the point of introducing the vaccine passport system, including the app VaxiCode, ahead of its September 1 launch was to identify "necessary adjustments."
"If improvements need to be made, they will be made," it wrote, also reiterating that the only information "contained in the QR code is the name, date of birth and list of vaccinations received" — information, the ministry said, the public already knows about for "well-known people" like the leaders whose codes were hacked.
Un amateurisme gênant et inquiétant.
Des gens ont trouvé une faille dans le système informatique du gouvernement et… https://t.co/AD1JCMM19G
— Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois (@Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois)
On Twitter, Québec Solidaire spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, whose QR code was also among those reportedly hacked, called the incident an "embarrassing and worrying amateurism" on the part of the government.