|Date||December 14, 2020 – present|
|Also known as||Campagne de vaccination contre la COVID-19 au Québec (French)|
|Cause||COVID-19 pandemic in Quebec|
|Organized by||- Health Canada |
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- Quebec government
- Municipal government in Canada
|Participants||13,472,496 doses administered (November 22, 2021) |
6,492,517 second doses administered (November 22, 2021)
|Outcome||79.8% of the population has received at least one dose of a vaccine (November 22, 2021) |
91.1% of the population ≥12 years old is "adequately vaccinated" (November 22, 2021)
|Website||Government of Quebec|
The COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Quebec (French : Campagne de vaccination contre la Covid-19 au Québec) is an ongoing provincial effort to distribute and administer the vaccine against COVID-19.
Quebec received their first shipments of COVID-19 vaccines on December 13, 2020.Priority vaccination of long-term care home residents and healthcare workers began the next day, with an 89-year-old resident of a long-term care home in Quebec City being the first in the province and country to receive a vaccine. On March 1, 2021, vaccination of the general population began, starting with people 80 years of age or older in Montreal. Over the course of the next three months, the vaccination campaign was gradually expanded to each age group in descending order. By May 14, all adults in Quebec were able to book a vaccination appointment, and by June 6, 75% of eligible Quebecers had received at least one dose of a vaccine. On September 1, 2021, a vaccine passport came into effect for restaurants, bars, and gyms, among others.
Vaccination against COVID-19 is not mandatory in Quebec and the vaccines are free of charge for those who choose to get it.
In the autumn of 2020, logistical preparations for the rollout of the vaccine began to be developed. Since Quebec would be receiving vaccine doses from the federal government, the Quebec government began to study several scenarios based on the quantity and type of vaccine received.The city of Montreal, in particular, set to work on creating its own plan and administrative structures for the vaccination campaign in late November 2020.
At the end of November 2020, the director of the Quebec vaccination campaign against COVID-19 was chosen: Jérôme Gagnon, an assistant deputy minister.After undergoing health problems, he was replaced two weeks later by Daniel Paré, CEO of the Chaudière-Appalaches Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux.
In early December, in addition to health professionals who are already authorized to administer vaccines, the Quebec government added new categories of people who are authorized to administer the vaccine:
On December 10, Premier François Legault indicated that by January 4, 2021, Quebec would receive 55,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
On December 13, not even a week after its approval by Health Canada,the first shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines arrived in Canada at Mirabel airport. Vaccination in Quebec started the next day, on December 14, with Gisèle Levesque, an 89-year-old resident of a long-term care home in Quebec City, being the first in the province and country to receive a vaccine. The vaccination campaign was slow to start, with around 1,400 doses being given per day in the first two weeks for a total of less than 20,000 people vaccinated.
On December 23, Health Canada approved the Moderna COVID-19 vaccineand on December 30, Quebec received their first shipment. Due to its lower maintenance requirements in comparison to the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna vaccine was initially prioritized for use in remote regions.
In the last week of January 2021, Quebec did not receive any vaccine doses, as Pfizer had temporarily stopped deliveries to Canada while its factory was being retooled.
|COVID-19 vaccines on order in Canada ()|
|Pfizer–BioNTech||phase III clinical trials||51-76 million||9 December 2020||14 December 2020|
|Moderna||phase III clinical trials||44 million||23 December 2020||31 December 2020|
|Oxford–AstraZeneca||phase III clinical trials||23.9 million||26 February 2021||10 March 2021|
|Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)||phase III clinical trials||10-38 million||5 March 2021||12 November 2021|
|Novavax||phase III clinical trials||up to 76 million||Pending||Pending|
|Medicago||phase III clinical trials||up to 76 million||Pending||Pending|
|Sanofi–GSK||phase III clinical trials||up to 72 million||Pending||Pending|
On February 23, Premier Legault announced that vaccine reservations would become available on February 25 by phone or online for Quebecers aged 85 and older.
On March 1, vaccination of the general population began, starting with people 80 years of age or older in Montreal. : directeur de la campagne de vaccination contre la COVID-19 au Québec), Daniel Paré, revealed that since February 25, there had been over 350,000 vaccination reservations made online.The next day, Minister Christian Dubé confirmed that 350 pharmacies in Montreal would begin taking appointments for vaccinations on March 15. The Director of the Vaccination Campaign Against COVID-19 in Quebec (French
By March 10, all Quebecers 70 years of age and older were able to book a vaccination appointment.
On March 16, Premier Legault promised that by June 24 (Quebec's national holiday) all Quebecers who wish to be vaccinated would have at least their first dose.
By March 18, over 10% of the Quebec population had received at least one dose.
On March 22, pharmacies began administering shots.
On March 26, Premier Legault received a dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
On March 29, Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended that use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine be suspended for patients below the age of 55, as the risk of blood clots seemed to be higher in younger people.As a precautionary measure, the Quebec government modified their strategy to comply with the new recommendations.
By April 8, all Quebecers 60 years of age and older were able to book a vaccination appointment.
By April 14, 25% of Quebecers had received at least one dose.
On April 21, the minimum age for the AstraZeneca vaccine was lowered to 45 years old.Despite concerns of vaccine hesistancy stemming from reports of rare blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has led to slowed demand for the AstraZeneca vaccine in some other provinces, long line-ups started to form before dawn at drop-in vaccation sites. In Montreal, all available AstraZeneca doses were exhausted within two days, forcing the drop-in vaccination clinics to close.
In the last week of April, two more priority groups became able to get vaccinated: people with a chronic illness or underlying health condition that increases their risk of COVID-19 complications,and people with physical or intellectual disabilities, including those on the autism spectrum. This would allow for around 550,000 more people to get vaccinated.
On April 27, businesses with enough capacity began opening up their facilities for mass vaccination, with Montreal-based CAE Inc. being the first to do so.The same day, Quebec reported its first death from an adverse event following immunization — a 54-year-old woman from Montérégie who died of a thrombosis after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.
On April 28, pregnant women became able to get vaccinated with one of the approved mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna).
On April 29, the Quebec government announced its vaccine schedule for adults under 60 years old, who will be divided into seven groups spanning about five years, with vaccination of the final group beginning on May 14.
On May 4, Quebec announced its first drive-thru vaccination clinic, located at the Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport in Montreal. It is slated for opening on May 17 and will be able to administer 4,000 doses per day once operational.
On May 10, Marguerite Blais, the Minister Responsible for Seniors, announced that all CHSLD residents who had received a first dose of the vaccine have now been fully vaccinated with both doses.
On May 13, the Quebec government announced the suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine for first doses, citing the risk of post-vaccination embolic and thrombotic events in the current context of readily available mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), which do not seem to pose the same risk. The move came after several other provinces, including Ontario and Alberta, announced similar suspensions. Consequently, the 148,000 doses of AstraZeneca arriving in the next week will be used as second doses for those over the age of 45 who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine as their first dose. However, for those under the age of 45, the CIQ recommends giving an mRNA vaccine as the second dose.
By May 14, the vaccination campaign had expanded to all adults in Quebec.
By May 19, 50% of Quebecers had received at least one dose.The same day, Minister Dubé and Mayor Valérie Plante announced the opening of a vaccination clinic at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve that will welcome both vehicles and cyclists, in light of the cancellation of the 2021 Canadian Grand Prix.
On May 21, the vaccination campaign was expanded to children aged 12 to 17 years old.
On May 27, Minister Dubé announced that the interval between the first and second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be shortened to 8 weeks, as opposed to 16 weeks, following new recommendations from the CIQ. Consequently, anyone who had gotten their first dose before April 3 could now get their second dose.In the next few days, some drop-in vaccination centres were overwhelmed with people seeking their second dose of AstraZeneca, resulting in many people having to be turned away. Soon after, the minimum interval between the first and second doses for all vaccines was reduced to 8 weeks. As such, those in the 80-year-old and older age group were able to move up their appointment for their second dose starting on June 7. Over the next few weeks, all other age groups — except the 12 to 17 age group, who has to wait for the approval of public health — gradually became able to advance their second dose appointments.
By June 6, over 75% of Quebecers aged 12 and up had received at least one dose of a vaccine.At about this point, the administration of first doses began to slow down, and on June 9, for the first time, more second doses were administered in one day than first doses. By the end of June, approximately 90% of all doses administered were second doses. Accordingly, the percentage of Quebecers having received at least one dose of a vaccine began to stabilize, largely due to comparatively lower vaccine uptake among people in the 18 to 29 age group.
On July 8, Minister Dubé announced that a vaccine passport in the form of a QR code will be instituted in September 2021. It will only be used in exceptional circumstances, such as an outbreak of COVID-19 in a high-risk setting, and will never be used for essential services.
On July 15, people in the 12 to 17 year old age group became able to advance their appointment for their second dose by four weeks.
In an attempt to entice the remaining 17% of eligible Quebecers to get vaccinated, on July 16, Minister Dubé announced that people over 18 who have been vaccinated can enter into a cash lottery starting on July 25. There will be four prizes worth $150,000 each and one prize worth $1 million. For those between the ages of 12 and 17, they can enter into a contest for bursaries. There will be eight bursaries worth $10,000 each and 16 worth $20,000. The draws will occur weekly starting on August 6, 2021 and ending on September 3, 2021, on which date the draw for the largest cash prize of $1 million will take place.
On July 24, the Quebec government confirmed that people who have received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and a second dose of an mRNA vaccine can receive a third dose of an mRNA vaccine if needed for travel.
On August 5, due to a rise in cases, Premier Legault confirmed that a vaccine passport will soon be implemented for certain non-essential services, so as to avoid another partial lockdown.The next week, Minister Dubé specified that the vaccine passport will come into effect on September 1, 2021, and will be used for gaining access to restaurants, bars, and gyms, among other non-essential services.
By August 15, over 75% of Quebecers aged 12 and up were adequately vaccinated, meaning that they had either received two doses of a vaccine or one dose of a vaccine if they had already had COVID-19.
In late August, with about 90% of healthcare workers fully vaccinated, the Quebec government announced that healthcare workers in Quebec, both in the private sector and the public sector, will have to be fully vaccinated by October 15, 2021.Workers who do not comply will be suspended without pay or reassigned to other duties, if possible. Some healthcare unions expressed concern about the impact this decision would have on the shortage of nurses and healthcare personnel in the province; around 22,000 healthcare professionals would be at risk of suspension.
On September 1, 2021, the vaccine passport came into effect. The system would require certain non-essential services to use an app to scan clients' proof-of-vaccination QR codes before entering, so as to ensure that they have been fully vaccinated for at least one week.To allow for a smooth transition, a grace period in which no fines would be given was permitted for the first two weeks.
On October 7, a week before the deadline for healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated, Minister Dubé announced that no religious exemptions would be permitted for unvaccinated healthcare workers.
Following a recommendation from Minister Dubé on October 8,several provincial medical orders, including the Order of Nurses, the College of Physicians, and the Order of Pharmacists, announced on October 12 that members who are still unvaccinated by October 15 will have their licence to practise suspended. However, their licence will be reinstated upon full vaccination. The same day, it was revealed that a court challenge would be brought forth against the policy, with lawyer Natalia Manole arguing that the staff shortages resulting from the policy would cause more public harm than keeping unvaccinated personnel, who make up only 7% of healthcare workers. In response, Minister Dubé affirmed that mandatory vaccination of healthcare workers is "the only solution" and that the government will be "very firm". The next day, on October 13, Minister Dubé announced that the deadline for healthcare workers to get vaccinated would be postponed by a month to November 15, citing the possibility of a major reduction in health services due to staff shortages. However, nurses who remain unvaccinated will not be eligible for financial bonuses, which were promised by the Quebec government a few weeks earlier with the goal of attracting and retaining more nurses. Additionally, they will have to get tested for COVID-19 at least three times a week. Dubé also noted that only adequately vaccinated people will be able to be hired as healthcare workers.
By October 13, over 90% of Quebecers aged 12 and up had received at least one dose of a vaccine.
On October 18, the Quebec government stopped allowing unvaccinated healthcare workers to be tested for COVID-19 — which they are required to do at least three times a week — during their work hours.
On November 3, the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, which was set to come into effect on November 15, was cancelled. However, newly hired healthcare workers must be fully vaccinated.
Following a recommendation from the CIQ, Minister Dubé announced on November 9 that people 70 years of age and older would be able to receive a third dose of a vaccine once six months have elapsed since their second dose.
Towards the end of December 2020, the Quebec government set aside 27,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in order to be able to administer second doses without delay, with Minister Dubé saying that this was a requirement from Pfizer. However, he added that he was in discussion with Quebec's public health agency, as well as with other provinces, to determine whether it would be possible to "force the hand of Pfizer in order to free up these doses" and be able to vaccinate more people.
In January 2021, the province announced its intentions to switch to a first-dose priority system, which would allow for the greatest number of people to receive a first dose but which would delay administration of a second-dose to months after the first, as opposed to the three weeks recommended by Pfizer.The Quebec government initially received criticism for this, with Supriya Sharma, Canada's Chief Medical Advisor to the Deputy Minister, stating that Quebec's calculations were done in a superficial manner and that this decision could have an effect on the delivery schedule for Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Indeed, on January 11, 2021, Premier Legault suggested that Pfizer might stop delivering vaccines to Quebec if the province did not comply with the recommended schedule. However, he affirmed that if such a situation arose, Quebec would modify its strategy to adhere to the recommended schedule.
In March, NACI modified its recommendations, confirming that the second dose can be administered up to four months after the first, : centre d'hébergement et de soins de longue durée) residents and staff, who had begun to receive vaccinations in December of 2020, started receiving their second doses in early March 2021. However, due to shipment delays of the Moderna vaccine, some residents who had received the Moderna vaccine as their first dose were administered a different vaccine for their second dose. While the Comité sur l’immunisation du Québec (CIQ), a branch of the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ), recommended that both doses be given using the same vaccine, as there was a lack of data regarding the efficacy of mixing vaccines, they allowed for flexibility in the context of a vaccine supply shortage. The CIQ thus suggested that in order to not delay the administration of a second dose any longer than necessary, a vaccine of a similar type to the first can be administered as the second (for example, a Moderna vaccine can be replaced with a Pfizer vaccine, since they are both mRNA vaccines). Later that month, the CIQ widened its policy on interchanging vaccines, allowing for people under the age of 45 who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, a viral vector vaccine, to receive a second dose of an mRNA vaccine. On June 15, the CIQ expanded this policy to Quebecers of all eligible ages.prompting other provinces, including British Columbia and Ontario, to start following the same strategy as Quebec. Given the recommendations, long-term care centre (French
Towards the beginning of June, the interval between the first and second dose was reduced from 16 weeks to 8 weeks.In July, the interval was reduced to four weeks.
On August 30, 2021, the Quebec government announced that it will offer third doses to immunosuppressed people.
Following new recommendations from the CIQ, Minister Dubé announced on September 28 that seniors living in long-term care homes will be able to receive a third dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) once 6 months have passed since their second dose.A little over a month later, the booster shot program was expanded to people in the general public who are 70 years of age and older.
In November 2020, the CIQ was asked to come up with a preliminary evaluation of which groups should be prioritized for vaccination.Given the limited availability of vaccines, the CIQ based their evaluation on five values:
Based on these values, they proposed the following priority groups, in order of highest priority to lowest:
|Priority group||Description||Start date|
|1||Vulnerable people and people with a significant loss of autonomy who live in residential and long-term care centres (CHSLDs) or in intermediate and family-type resources (RI‑RTFs).||December 14, 2020|
|2||Workers in the health and social services network who have contact with users.||December 14, 2020|
|3||Autonomous or semi-autonomous people who live in private seniors' homes (RPAs) or in certain closed residential facilities for older adults.||December 15, 2020|
|4||Isolated and remote communities.||January 6, 2021|
|5||People 80 years of age or older.||March 1, 2021|
|6||People 70 to 79 years of age.||March 1, 2021|
|7||People 60 to 69 years of age.||March 22, 2021|
|8||Adults under 60 years of age who have a chronic disease or health problem that increases the risk of complications of COVID‑19: ||April 14, 2021|
|Adults under 60 years of age who have a chronic disease or health problem that increases the risk of complications of COVID‑19, including but not limited to:||April 23, 2021|
|Adults under 60 years of age who have a chronic disease or health problem that increases the risk of complications of COVID‑19, including but not limited to:||April 26, 2021|
|9||Adults under 60 years of age who provide essential services and have contact with users.||April 14, 2021|
|10||People 50 to 59 years of age.||April 30, 2021|
|People 45 to 49 years of age.||May 3, 2021|
|People 40 to 44 years of age.||May 5, 2021|
|People 35 to 39 years of age.||May 7, 2021|
|People 30 to 34 years of age.||May 10, 2021|
|People 25 to 29 years of age.||May 12, 2021|
|People 18 to 24 years of age.||May 14, 2021|
|People 12 to 17 years of age.||May 21, 2021|
Further vaccine trial data is required before the Quebec government can decide whether or when to vaccinate children under the age of 12.
Initially, in accordance with the precautionary principle, Quebec did not allow for the vaccination of pregnant women. However, in April 2021, calls for the vaccination of pregnant women, including from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, began to increase.Many gynecologists argued that pregnant women should be prioritized, as they are more likely to experience severe health complications after contracting COVID-19. They pointed to the situation in Toronto, where more than half of patients in intensive care in some hospitals were pregnant women. In light of these recommendations, the Quebec government modified its position on April 28, allowing pregnant women to be vaccinated.
According to some experts, Indigenous Canadians and prisoners should be considered as priority groups.
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We know that we'll get 57,000 boxes, which means 55,000 doses, before January 4th
J’ai demandé au Dr Arruda, avec certaines autres provinces, […] de voir si on pouvait continuer à forcer la main à Pfizer pour libérer ces doses-là.
[...] la stratégie qui devrait prévenir le plus grand nombre de cas serait d’offrir le plus rapidement possible une 1re dose de vaccin aux personnes figurant dans les six premiers groupes prioritaires.
Lors de l’administration de la 2e dose du vaccin contre la COVID-19, si le même vaccin utilisé lors de la première dose n’est pas disponible sur place ou si le vaccin donné lors de la première dose est inconnu, il faut administrer dans la mesure du possible cette deuxième dose avec un type de vaccin similaire
Des médecins gynécologues inquiets appellent quant à eux à plutôt vacciner en urgence les femmes enceintes, compte tenu des complications graves observées récemment ailleurs au Canada. Samedi, dans certains hôpitaux de Toronto, plus de la moitié des malades admis aux soins intensifs étaient des femmes enceintes.