Quebec is diving into its campaign to vaccinate children between the ages of five and 11 against COVID-19. The government announced that vaccinations for this age group will begin on Wednesday, November 24 in the province's vaccination centres.
Appointments are available through Clic Santé.
Next, the vaccination campaign will take to the school system.
Starting on November 29, elementary schools will begin facilitating vaccinations.
While some schools will host vaccination clinics, others will be able to organize transport to another vaccination site.
The announcement of Quebec's campaign for five to 11-year-olds comes after Health Canada's approved the Pfizer vaccine for the age group. The government says there should be at least eight weeks between doses.
In a statement, the premier's office and the Ministry of Health and Social Services said vaccinating the estimated 650,000 Quebec children between the ages of 5 and 11 will further reduce the number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.
Premier Legault also previously stated that Quebec will end its health emergency, which has been in place since March 2020, once the age group had been largely vaccinated.
He said in October that that would be sometime at the beginning of 2022.
On Tuesday, Legault sought to reassure hesitant parents.
"It's normal to ask questions, to want to protect our children," he said. "but if the vaccination of our children comes much later than that of adolescents and adults, it's because scientists have taken the time to study the issue."
Montreal police say a 20-year-old man has died following reports of gunfire in the borough of Anjou. Officers found the man unconscious inside a vehicle after responding to a call at around 7:15 p.m. Thursday evening.
He was pronounced dead after emergency crews transported him to the hospital. The SPVM confirmed this was Montreal's 32nd homicide of 2021.
A second victim with what police described as minor injuries was found near the same vehicle. The victim, a 17-year-old male, was released from the hospital and spoke with investigators.
SPVM spokesperson Raphaël Bergeron said the 17-year-old is known to police.
Investigators are still analyzing the incident and as of 3:30 a.m., they had not determined a motive, Bergeron said.
The death of the 20-year-old man comes just over two weeks after the shooting death of 16-year-old Thomas Trudel in the Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension borough, which marked Montreal's 31st homicide in 2021.
Trudel's death on November 14 led to widespread outcry from Montrealers and political leaders both local and provincial who called for an end to gun violence in the city.
Mayor Valérie Plante and Premier François Legault both visited the site of the 16-year-old's death. Many have criticized the unequal attention both leaders appear to have given the tragedy involving Trudel, who media reports have identified as white, compared to two minors of colour who have been killed in recent months, 16-year-old Jannai Dopwell-Bailey and 15-year-old Meriem Boundaoui.
Mayor Plante has repeatedly called for a nationwide handgun ban to combat violence in Montreal and elsewhere in Canada.
In January, the SPVM will host a forum with community stakeholders to refine its strategy in the fight against gun crime.
It's another sad day in Habs land, folks. The Montreal Canadiens have announced that two players, forward Brendan Gallagher and defenceman Sami Niku, have been placed under the NHL's COVID-19 protocol.
According to a statement posted on Instagram, "both players are being monitored closely by team doctors and following the guidelines and protocols set by the NHL."
As per the NHL's COVID-19 protocol for players and staff, the two Habs players will be "be removed immediately and shall be directed to isolate and to refrain from contact with other individuals until the confirmation of their COVID-19 positive/negative status is established."
As of the time of writing, the players' status is unconfirmed.
The NHL has established extensive guidelines for managing COVID-19 in the league and has been quick to act when potential cases arise. The NHL has also established a protocol for unvaccinated players, according to Sportsnet.
In the Canadiens, there have been a few confirmed contacts with the COVID-19 virus since the pandemic began but overall, no player on the team has missed significant time due to the disease. The only one to miss a large chunk of time was head coach Dominique Ducharme, who was in isolation for part of the Habs' most recent playoff run.
Former General Manager Marc Bergevin also tested positive for COVID-19 in November and spent some time away from the team.
It has been a rough week for the Canadiens. Though in positive news, Carey Price is back on the ice at training, the team underwent a major shakeup by relieving Bergevin and two other employees. At least one person has said they're interested in the GM role, but the team hasn't given updates on its search for a new leader.
Quebec's most famous public health official, Dr. Horacio Arruda, has officially reached new levels of fame. Eagle-eyed viewers watching a behind-the-scenes video about the new Bethesda Softworks game Starfield might've noticed a familiar bespectacled figure hidden in some concept art.
Reddit user u/earknee11 made the discovery. Their post about the public health director's appearance within a small screen in the game preview has received hundreds of upvotes.
In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, Dr. Arruda's apparent cameo in the Starfield concept art is certainly a cheeky homage to the province that Bethesda Game Studios — in part — calls home. It also has locations in Texas and Maryland.
Coming to Quebecers live from a youth-filled vaccination clinic in Chaudière-Appalaches, Premier Legault reiterated that, as long as the COVID-19 situation allows for it, the government wants to loosen gathering rules so that 20 to 25 people are allowed in our homes for the holidays.
Le premier ministre r\u00e9pond aux questions des journalistes.\n \nSuivez notre m\u00eal\u00e9e de presse en direct https://twitter.com/i/broadcasts/1vAxRkjLWPzKl\u00a0\u2026
"We know that there are many families — when we look at the brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces — who exceed the 10 people. [...] So we hope to be able, for Christmas, for New Year's, to have families a little enlarged to 20, 25 people," he said. "Right now, it's going very well on the hospitalization side."
While Legault didn't set anything in stone, he did say the success of Quebec's youth vaccination campaign is increasing our chances to host more loved ones over the holidays. He noted that 240,000 young people aged 11 to 15 — 37% — have already booked an appointment or gotten a vaccine dose, which he called "a good start."
"By adding these 240,000 children who will be vaccinated, it will help to have coverage in our society. It will help us to give ourselves the chance that during the holiday season, we will be able to increase to 20, 25 the number of people in our homes," he said.
For now, Legault said the government and public health are "following the situation closely from day to day." He said Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec's director of public health, is set to make an official recommendation about holiday gatherings next week.
Legault added that there are no plans to add restrictions if there's a significant case increase. He said it's important to look at hospitalizations, which are currently "under control."
"I repeat to all Quebecers, be careful between now and Christmas so that we can give ourselves the maximum chance to have reasonably-sized parties during the holiday season," Legault said.