Quebec is bumping up the booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine for people who are severely immunocompromised or undergoing certain medical treatments.
The Health Ministry announced the decision Wednesday morning on the heels of advice from the province’s immunization committee. The data indicates that people with certain conditions or undergoing specific treatments have a poor immune response after the first shot, making a second dose important.
Under the plan, Quebecers who meet certain criteria will be able to get their second dose 28 days after their first shot — instead of 16 weeks later.
The new directive applies to adults who are undergoing cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy and those with severe kidney disease who require dialysis.
It also includes some people who have undergone a heart, lung, kidney or stem cell transplant. Quebecers who receive high doses of corticosteroids or other very strong immunocompromised drugs may also be eligible.
The Health Ministry says local health authorities will directly contact those who are affected by the change to book their appointments.
Over the course of its campaign, the province has administered more than 3.8 million doses — the majority of which have been first shots.
Vaccination is gradually opening to the general population, with registration set to open to all adults by the end of the week.
Health Minister Christian Dubé says more than 233,000 appointments were booked Tuesday after the age requirement dropped to anyone 25 and older.
“Now is the time to break records and join forces in this battle,” he wrote on social media. “We will win together.”
The government has set a goal of giving a first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine to any adult who wants one by June 24.
Meanwhile, the province has provided both doses to all residents in long-term care homes, which were hard hit by the pandemic. The next priority is to do the same in private seniors’ residences.
— with files from the Canadian Press