Quebec increases limit for indoor holiday gatherings and extends eligibility for 3rd dose – .

Quebec increases limit for indoor holiday gatherings and extends eligibility for 3rd dose – .

The Quebec government announced on Tuesday that it would allow private gatherings inside a maximum of 20 people as of December 23, with Health Minister Christian Dubé strongly recommending that people attending these gatherings be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Dubé said public health asks people to be responsible and to continue to follow public health measures. No further easing of restrictions will be announced for the holidays, and other public health restrictions remain in place.

The government has not announced a date for ending the relaxed rules on gatherings.

“If we have to reconsider this after the holidays, we’ll take a look. Because we don’t like going back there, ”Dubé said, stressing that he wanted the measure to last.

Currently, only 10 people or those from three different households are allowed in private homes.

Authorities warn of mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated guests

Dubé said there would also be no surveillance measures associated with the new rule.

“We trust Quebeckers to be responsible,” Dubé said at a press conference with the director of public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda and Daniel Paré, the leader of the Quebec vaccination campaign.

Although the health minister said he was “strongly” against the participation of unvaccinated people in holiday gatherings “for obvious reasons,” a press release from the health ministry later clarified that it was only “recommended” that those attending the holiday gatherings be vaccinated.

Arruda said people who want to socialize with an unvaccinated person should wear a mask and physically distance themselves, but his recommendation is not to mix vaccinated and unvaccinated people at all.

“The best gift you can get for Christmas is a vaccine. “

“I feel reassured”, declares the director of public health

Arruda said an important factor in the decision to double the private home assembly limit was the stability of hospitalizations in the province, despite an increase in cases.

” We have [another] week of data, ”he said. “Maybe two weeks ago I wouldn’t have done the same, but today I feel reassured. “

He also pointed out a detailed sampling of nearly 900 positive COVID tests on November 30 which found that none of them contained the omicron variant, which the government said it was monitoring closely. At this point, there is still only one case of the variant in Quebec and it is related to travel.

“I have data that it isn’t actually circulating in Quebec,” Arruda said, noting that he had assessed the risks based on the current epidemiology before making vacation recommendations to the health ministry.

“We give ourselves calculated freedom. “

More eligibility for booster injections

The province also announced that the third doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are now available for healthcare workers, people with chronic illnesses and other health conditions, people from isolated and remote communities and those living in remote areas. pregnant, or one million additional people eligible for the booster dose.

The province has also reminded those eligible for recalls that a minimum period of six months from their second dose of vaccine must be met before getting a third dose.

Previously, in Quebec, booster doses were only available to people over 70 years of age, people with weakened immune systems and those who had received two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

People 60 and older will also be eligible for a third dose, but will have to wait until early January. Dubé said the reason for the delay is that the province has just enough staff right now to administer the vaccines to the elderly, young children and those already eligible.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Dubé, center, announced looser restrictions on private gatherings indoors and more groups eligible for COVID-19 booster injections, alongside Arruda and Daniel Paré, on the right, the leader of the Quebec vaccination campaign. (The Canadian Press)

Vaccination in children is “very encouraging”

According to Dubé, among Quebecers aged 12 and over eligible for vaccination, 640,000 still need to be vaccinated.

He said nearly 200,000 children between the ages of five and 11 have been vaccinated, with appointments booked for nearly 100,000 more. This means that 43 percent of children in this age group are or are about to be vaccinated.

“It’s very encouraging,” he said.

Last week, Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) strongly recommended a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for all Canadians aged 50 and over. NACI also recommended that Canadians aged 18 to 49 receive a third injection of mRNA at least six months after their second dose.

On Tuesday, Dubé explained that the Quebec immunization committee said that it is not necessary for people under the age of 60 to be vaccinated because there is no decrease in the effectiveness of the drug. vaccine for these people.

“If we ever find that 50-59 year olds are less protected, we will add them more quickly,” said Arruda.


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