| News

November 3, 2022 – Update by the Provincial and Federal Governments regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic

Here is a status report on the recent decisions and actions of the provincial and federal governments in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The situation is stable

The National Director of Public Health, Dr. Luc Boileau, along with Dr. Jean Longtin, reported on the COVID-19 situation in Quebec and on the increased presence of infectious respiratory diseases, especially in children.

The COVID-19 situation is considered stable in most age groups.

Moreover, the number of outbreaks seems to be stabilizing or even decreasing in healthcare settings, even if hospitalizations and deaths remain high among people aged 80 and over. Careful monitoring for new variants of COVID-19 continues.

Elderly people or people who are immunocompromised, on dialysis or considered to be at high risk of complications from COVID-19 are always advised to get a booster dose if their last dose was more than five months ago.

Prevention of infectious respiratory diseases

The increase in cases of infectious respiratory diseases, especially among children and the elderly, is of concern to Public Health, since the flu season has not yet begun. This increase puts more pressure on the healthcare and emergency service front lines. As a result, Public Health recommends adopting a new approach to fighting respiratory diseases. This approach offers protective actions that limit the spread of many of these diseases.

Like the COVID-19 virus, it is recommended to benefit from vaccination, especially for the target clientele, to strengthen their immunity against respiratory viruses. Influenza and pneumococcal vaccines are recommended for people who are vulnerable because of their age or their health condition.

Three recommended actions

In all cases, whether for COVID-19 or other respiratory diseases, three actions are recommended

  1. If you have a fever, stay at home until it disappears.
  2. In case of cough, sore throat or nasal congestion, wearing a mask is recommended, until the symptoms disappear.
  3. Until symptoms resolve, avoid contact with vulnerable people, such as the elderly, immunosuppressed people and those with medical conditions, as well as any non-essential social events. It is also recommended to keep your distance from others as much as possible and to favour remote activities, such as teleworking, when possible. Regardless of the symptom, we must inform the people around us that we might be contagious.

Approval of an adapted version of the Spikevax vaccine

For its part, Health Canada has announced the licensing of an adapted version of Moderna’s Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine that targets Omicron’s BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. Its use is authorized as a booster dose in those aged 18 years or older.

After a thorough and independent scientific review of the evidence, Health Canada concluded that Moderna’s Spikevax bivalent booster vaccine is safe and effective. Clinical trial results revealed that one dose of this vaccine elicits a strong immune response against both Omicron’s BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, as well as the original SARS-CoV-2 virus strain.

This adapted vaccine has a similar safety profile to Moderna’s previously licensed Spikevax booster vaccine, with the same mild side effects, which quickly resolve.