Quebec's COVID-19 vaccine passport will not apply to kids

Nov 23 2021, 10:21 pm

The Quebec government says its COVID-19 passport will not apply to children.

On Tuesday evening, the government provided additional details on how it would handle the COVID-19 vaccine rollout among children throughout Quebec.

Premier François Legault says children won’t be subject to the vaccine passport, citing it would be “unfair” to kids who don’t get vaccinated and that the government “didn’t want to put pressure on anybody” to get vaccinated.

Legault reiterated to Quebec parents and guardians that it’s “not for nothing that the vaccine for children came out after the vaccine for adults and teenagers.” In French, the premier said scientists have “adjusted the dosage” and stressed that “scientists think the vaccine is safe.”

The COVID-19 vaccine campaign for kids aged five to 11 years old will begin at vaccination centres across Quebec on Wednesday, and vaccinations at schools will begin “sometime next week,” the premier said. According to Legault, children will need a note from their parents or guardians with vaccination consent, or they can bring them to school. “No children will be vaccinated in school without the consent of their parents.”

Legault said children will have to wait eight weeks in between shots, and he would like every eligible child in Quebec to have a first dose before Christmas.

Legault acknowledged that the risks in children are “not as high as adults” but said there are some cases of children in the world who have gotten COVID-19 and had to be hospitalized as a result.

The premier cited three “good reasons” as to why kids should be vaccinated. He says the first is allocated to the risk of catching COVID-19, which would be “reduced once they get vaccinated.” He says the second reason is to offer more protection at schools, and the third is that he wants kids to be able to feel safe hugging their grandparents during the holidays.

On Friday, Health Canada authorized the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in kids aged five to 11, becoming the first vaccine of its kind to be authorized for use in children.

The federal health agency authorized a two-dose regimen of 10 micrograms to be administered at least three weeks apart, which is a lower dose than the 30 micrograms two-dose regimen authorized for those 12 years of age and older.

Health Canada called it “a major milestone in Canada’s fight against COVID-19.”

As of Tuesday morning, the Clic Santé website has already begun taking appointments for children aged five to 11 in Quebec.

Parents or guardians can reserve a spot for their children as early as Wednesday morning. Siblings can be booked together, and there’s an option to signal to the nurse or vaccine administrator if the child is nervous about getting the shot.

According to Health Minister Christian Dubé, roughly 700,000 children in Quebec are eligible to be vaccinated. He says the government won’t be setting a minimum percentage goal as it did with the adult vaccine rollout.

“We want to get to the highest percentage,” says Dubé, “but the government has not identified a goal so as to not put pressure on parents or the children to get vaccinated.”

The INSPQ (Institut national de santé Publique du Québec) says about 35,000 children between the ages of five and 11 have caught COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. The INSPQ says only 35 kids in that age group have been hospitalized, and zero have died as a result of COVID-19.

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