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Medicago clinical trial participants want equal access to Quebec COVID-19 vaccine passport

Click to play video: 'Medicago clinical trial participants want equal access to Quebec COVID-19 vaccine passport' Medicago clinical trial participants want equal access to Quebec COVID-19 vaccine passport
Participants in a COVID-19 vaccine trial say they are getting mixed messages from the Quebec government when it comes to qualifying for the province's vaccination passport. Global’s Phil Carpenter reports. – Aug 26, 2021

Alex Rousseau is among just over 100 Montrealers who are taking part in trials for a COVID-19 vaccine made by Medicago, but who say they are facing hurdles get a proof of vaccine from the Quebec health ministry.

“It seems that they’re no doing their part to support the participants in the trial research,” said Rousseau.

The vaccine is already under phase 3 trials, the final step before Health Canada approves it.  If approved, the Medicago vaccine could be the first COVID-19 shot produced in Canada.

Read more: Canada’s Medicago says its COVID-19 vaccine shows promising antibody results in trial

Montreal subjects in the Medicago trials say they have confidence in the vaccine, but when they tried to get the Quebec vaccine passport which comes into effect Sept. 1, no luck

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“I feel I’m protected,” said trial participant Susan Johnson-Grant.  “So now I don’t know why I’m excluded from getting the passport.”

“They are part of research for knowledge,” he said during a press conference.  “So we will take that into consideration the same way we will take into consideration the people who cannot get vaccinated.”

But in a letter to at least one trial participant that same day, ministry officials say though they are sensitive to the situation, they denied the participants’ request for the proof of vaccine.

“As the vaccine is not approved and we do not have information on its efficacy or safety,” one official wrote in an email, “it is impossible to enter the doses administered in the context of studies underway by Medicago, into the vaccination register.”

Read more: Canada’s Medicago begins late-stage study of COVID-19 vaccine with GlaxoSmithKline

On Thursday, in a statement to Global News, the health ministry said:

“Discussions are still ongoing with Medicago. We understand the concerns of people who have participated in vaccine validation studies and are actively seeking a solution so that these people are not penalized.”

Johnson-Grant she’s trying to be patient with Health Minister Christian Dubé for now.

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“Well, I’m gonna wait,” she told Global News. “I’m gonna give him a chance. Sept. 1 has not come yet.”

Still, she and Rousseau hope they get some clarity before long.

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