August 31, 2021 – Provincial government update on COVID-19
Here is a further update on recent decisions and actions by the Québec government in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vaccination passport takes effect tomorrow
Christian Dubé, Québec Minister of Health and Social Services, reiterated that the vaccination passport will come into force tomorrow for people aged 13 and over. Go here for the list of places where it will be required.
Effective September 15, individuals who fail to comply with terms and conditions of the vaccination passport will be subject to penalties, including fines of from $1,000 to $6,000.
Three formats of the QR code will be accepted: paper, PDF on a mobile device and from the VaxiCode application. Photo identification will be required but not for those 75 years of age and older.
“The passport will help us maintain as normal a level of activity as possible, and I am very proud of the efforts made over the last few weeks,” Mr. Dubé said. “Despite the success of our vaccination campaign, the fourth wave is gaining momentum, particularly due to circulation of the Delta variant. Let’s remain vigilant this fall and continue to be exemplary.”
The government will be closely monitoring the passport’s rollout in the coming weeks before considering whether it should be extended to other locations.
To date, 1,700,000 Quebecers have downloaded the VaxiCode application.
Back to school
School-based vaccination efforts will be the priority over the next two weeks.
Rapid testing will be rolled out shortly in neighbourhoods where vaccination rates are lower. Primary schools have also been targeted for pilot projects. If necessary, the rollout of rapid testing will be considered for all Québec primary and secondary schools.
Horacio Arruda, National Director of Public Health, said he expects Health Canada to approve vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 this November or December. He said it will probably be in January 2022 for children under 5.
One of the best places on the planet
Mr. Dubé noted that Québec is among the world’s leaders in terms of vaccination rates. In fact, 86% of Quebecers aged 12 and over have received a dose, while 79% are fully vaccinated.
Despite this, the fourth wave is taking hold in Québec. “If we are to believe the INESSS (Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux) forecasts that will be released this Thursday, there will be an increase in the number of cases and hospitalizations in the coming weeks, particularly in Montréal and Laval,” Mr. Dubé pointed out. “It’s young people catching the virus these days, and unfortunately many of them are not yet vaccinated.
The minister added that fully vaccinated people are 24 times less likely to end up in hospital.
Despite the increase in cases in recent weeks, the number of hospitalizations in Québec remains relatively low.