If the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise significantly in the fall, access to certain services could be denied to Quebecers who have not received their two doses of vaccine, but there would be no no re-confinement, Health and Social Services Minister Christian Dubé said Monday.
Posted on July 5, 2021 at 1:52 p.m.
Updated at 23:31
“It is certain that at some point, we will have to make choices as a society,” Minister Dubé declared at a press conference at the Santa Cabrini hospital in Montreal.
“If things were not going well and there was a significant increase in cases in September, we will not be able to reconfine people,” he said.
Reconfinement being excluded “with what we have just experienced for 15, 16 months”, choices should be made, explained Minister Dubé.
There are non-essential services that are going to need to be available to those who have had two doses. But that must be explained to people.
Christian Dubé, Minister of Health and Social Services
The Minister of Health did not specify the “services” envisaged, but promised to “return to the famous vaccine evidence” at a press briefing Thursday.
“Things are going to be announced at that time that could motivate people who have not yet considered getting vaccinated to find it interesting to do so. ”
Public Health has still not announced what uses could be made of the QR code that vaccinated Quebecers can obtain by email.
« [La dernière ligne droite] of the organization behind the use of electronic vaccine proof is being finalized[e] and the minister will make the announcement on Thursday, ”said Marjorie Larouche, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS), by email on Monday.
Minister Dubé was particularly concerned about 18 to 29 year olds, among whom there are still 115,000 people to be vaccinated before reaching 75% coverage.
“If we want a face-to-face return for people from CEGEP and university, we absolutely have to go looking for even better than 75%,” he said.
Minister Dubé cited the example of the United Kingdom, beset by the Delta variant, where new cases particularly strike unvaccinated people. “You have to be ready and the way to be ready is to get vaccinated,” he said, recalling that there was “two months” left to do so.
Quebecers who want to receive their second dose earlier, within four to eight weeks of their first dose, will be able to make an appointment on Clic Santé starting Tuesday morning, Minister Dubé announced. This advance has so far been limited to walk-in vaccination centers.
QR code can be an “interesting and important” incentive, says Dre Maryse Guay, medical consultant at the Direction de santé publique de la Montérégie and at the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ), and member of the Quebec Immunization Committee.
“There has been a lot of talk in the last few weeks about the stick and the carrot, and I think the QR code can be part of the carrot,” explained Dre Guay in a telephone interview. However, it will be necessary to ensure that Quebecers who do not have the ability to obtain their code by email still have access to it, she stressed.
If the Dre Guay “ardently” wants there to be no more confinement, she judges that it is very early to definitively rule out such a measure.
In addition to people who do not get vaccinated, there are young people under 12, who do not have access to the vaccine, and vaccinated people whose protection is less because they are old or because their system immune system is weaker, she recalled. “It’s still a good proportion of people who can continue to move this damn COVID-19! ”
Yes to the vaccination passport
Nearly three quarters (73%) of Quebecers are in favor of the vaccine passport which would reserve access to certain places or activities to vaccinated people, suggests the most recent INSPQ survey, published on Monday. These data were collected from June 11 to 23 as part of a weekly web survey conducted among 3,300 Quebec adults since July 2020.
Almost 9 out of 10 respondents also consider that “the worst of the crisis is behind us”. This result is the highest since the start of the survey.
Last summer, only 40% to 50% of Quebecers polled between July 10 and September 2 considered that the worst was over.
Conversely, the proportion of respondents who say “always” follow the instructions for washing hands, physical distancing and avoiding gatherings is at its lowest since the start of the survey, 33%, well below highs of 50% to 51% from January 8 to February 17.
Balance still down
The downward trend in the number of COVID-19 cases continues in Quebec. The province reported 176 new cases and one death over the weekend. Calculated over one week, the average of new cases thus fell to 76, down 18% from the previous week.
The number of hospitalizations also continued to decline. There are currently 102 people hospitalized, 8 less than Friday. Of those, 27 are in intensive care, 7 fewer than three days ago.
Over the weekend, 266,636 vaccine doses were administered, for a total of 8.8 million doses since the start of the campaign. To date, 6 million Quebecers have received at least one dose, or 70.5% of the population. Of the number, 2.7 million received two, or 31.6% of Quebecers.
The province is currently administering an average of 100,600 doses per day, including 93,000 second doses, a high rate aimed at vaccinating 75% of Quebecers aged 12 and over twice by the end of the summer.