Quebec is launching a new widespread COVID-19 vaccine booster campaign but there are no plans to bring back restrictions, the province’s premier said Tuesday.
François Legault made the announcement alongside Health Minister Christian Dubé and Luc Boileau, director of Quebec public health.
“We have to remain prudent,” he said, adding that the novel coronavirus is still present in the province.
The idea is for Quebecers to get a booster shot if it has been at least five months since their last dose — or three months since they were last infected with the virus. The effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine starts to wean after that period, Legault said.
The announcement comes as a vaccination rollout got underway this week to administer a fifth dose to residents in long-term care homes and private seniors’ residences. The Health Department has said it launched the initiative for at-risk people because it expects infections to rise in the fall after schools reopen.
Under the new province-wide campaign, anyone who is 75 years and older can sign up for an additional dose starting Tuesday.
Appointments will then open up to those over the age of 60 starting next week. Anyone who is over the age of 18 will be able to sign up starting Aug. 29.
“Please go and get your vaccine for you, the people around you and to help the health-care workers,” Legault said.
The announcement comes as the start of the school years looms, but Legault told reporters that there are no plans to implement additional measures designed to stop the spread of the virus “for now.”
Boileau said they are concerned about COVID-19 indicators rising when students head back to class and adults return to work after vacation, but said “that’s why vaccination is being encouraged today.”
Quebec reported 1,256 new coronavirus cases and 36 pandemic-related deaths Tuesday. There were 1,964 patients hospitalized with the disease, a decrease of 29 compared with the previous day.
— with files from the Canadian Press