This year’s flu shot is immediately free for everyone in Quebec, the provincial government announced on Friday.
Previously, Quebec residents who were not at risk of serious complications from the flu had to pay out of pocket to get the flu shot. Quebec is the only Canadian province that does not regularly offer the vaccine free of charge to all its residents.
The free campaign is an “exceptional” measure for this year, amid heavy traffic in the county’s emergency department due to rising cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the flu and coronavirus, a statement from the health ministry said. COVID-19.
“[Those factors]coupled with the upcoming holiday season, warranted expanding access to the flu vaccine,” it said.
This is a reversal. Last week, Dr. Luc Boileau, Quebec’s public health director, said a free flu shot for everyone was not recommended by Quebec’s immunization commission.
Friday’s statement said the decision was made “after consultation with public health authorities”.
In conversation with CBC Montreal Daybreak On Friday morning, Boileau said it was “a completely abnormal situation” that there are so many viruses circulating in Quebec.
He said the decision to make the injection more widely available was made in part because people at risk are not getting the injections as the government would like.
“At this point, we’re not observing what we should be doing for the shot,” he said.
“[This measure] is mainly to get those people vaccinated and to encourage them, but also to give everyone who would feel more comfortable… access to vaccinations.”
The statement said those who have already paid for the vaccine will not be reimbursed.