This year’s flu vaccine will be free for all Quebecers starting today, the provincial government announced Friday.
Previously, Quebecers who were not considered 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 of its residents.
According to a press release published by the Ministry of Health, the free healthcare campaign is an “exceptional” measure for this year, in a context of high attendance in emergency rooms in the province, due to the increase in cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza and COVID-19. 19.
“[Those factors]combined with the imminent arrival of the holiday season, justified the expansion of access to the vaccine against the flu”, can we read.
It’s a reversal. Last week, Dr. Luc Boileau, Quebec’s director of public health, said a free flu shot for all was not recommended by Quebec’s immunization committee.
Friday’s statement said the decision was made “after consultation with public health authorities.”
Speaking to CBC Montreal Dawn On Friday morning, Boileau said having so many viruses circulating in Quebec was “a completely abnormal situation.”
He said the decision to make the vaccine more widely available was made, in part, because people at risk are not getting the vaccines as much as the government would like.
“Right now we’re not seeing what we should for absorption,” he said.
“[This measure] is above all to allow these people to be vaccinated and to encourage them, but also to allow all those who would feel more comfortable… to have access to vaccines.
The statement said those who have already paid for the vaccine will not be reimbursed.