MONTREAL — The vaccination campaign against COVID-19 will be expanded to children from six months to four years next Monday in Quebec, announced the national director of public health, Dr. Luc Boileau, who observes that there is a stabilization of cases and hospitalizations. in the province.
Parents can already book an appointment on the Clic Santé site so that their toddlers can receive a first dose of Moderna’s Spikevax vaccine, which got the green light from Health Canada last week.
The Committee for Immunization of Quebec (CIQ), for its part, gave its approval to the vaccine, saying it generates a “good immune response in children after two doses” with a reduced dose, detailed the Ministry of Health and Social Services in a statement.
Quebec achieved a first delivery of more than 70,000 doses this week, said Dr. Boileau, at a news conference Thursday in Montreal. The category six months to four years represents approximately 400,000 children.
“We will not set targets for this group. It is really an availability of the vaccine. Those that we strongly encourage (vaccination) are those who have special vulnerability conditions,” said Dr. Boileau, accompanied by the secretary of the CIQ, Dr .Nicholas Brousseau.
“I think it is a good idea for parents to vaccinate their children. They reduce their risk of going to hospital. Children are less likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19, but very young children are more at risk than the elderly,” argued Dr. Brousseau.
For immunocompromised children, CIQ recommends three doses with a minimum interval of four weeks between each dose. While a single dose is sufficient for a healthy child who has already had COVID-19.
Towards a plateau
The increase in cases and hospitalizations observed since the beginning of summer tends to stabilize, according to forecasts, said Dr. Boileau.
“We are heading towards a plateau. (…) This does not mean that it goes down. This means that it remains high, but it does not rise again in terms of hospitalizations,” he said, adding that the next data will confirm whether the curve will soon begin its decline.
Dr. Boileau did not fail to reiterate the importance of remaining cautious and choosing basic protective measures such as vaccination, distancing, hand washing, wearing a mask and self-isolation, stressing that the risk of infection is 10 days.
However, there is no question of proposing again the reintroduction of mandatory measures to slow the spread, and calling for everyone’s “good will”.
“We have to be careful with the idea of bringing back mandatory measures. I still think after analysis that we are able to get through this if everyone puts their will into it. (…) We are able to work with recommendations and self-identify the best practices that concern us”, he said.
Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Francois Legault was also not clearly worried about the rise in cases, claiming that while there are more infections from the virus, “all things considered, there are fewer hospitalizations and fewer deaths”.
He believes that the pandemic situation itself is not critical. “Public health does not recommend putting measures in place,” he said at a partisan event in Montreal.
“Nothing should be taken for granted,” he added. “If necessary, we will act.”
The Prime Minister attributed the increase in the number of cases to the fact that “there were many parties, people wanted to see each other. There was a lot of infection.”
Dr. Boileau also noted that the gatherings around the Festival d’été de Québec “obviously” generated cases, especially among healthcare workers in the Capitale-Nationale region.
Sir. Legault wasn’t looking for red tape regarding the health network’s situation, which he says differs from the situation with COVID. “The fact is that the health network is very congested,” he acknowledged.
But he attributes this overload primarily to vacations as well as the high number of network employees who are unavailable because they have contracted the disease.
This broadcast was made with financial assistance from Meta Exchanges and The Canadian Press for the news.