Even if the seasonal flu seems less virulent than usual, Quebec is preparing for a historic vaccination campaign by calling in particular for the first time to pharmacists.
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No less than two million doses will be available for free this year, a 30% increase from the 1.6 million distributed last year.
Public health hopes to vaccinate 80% of people considered at risk. These include those over 75 years of age, those with chronic illness, and second and third cycle pregnant women.
Caregivers in these same groups, those living under the same roof as children under 6 months of age (the latter cannot be vaccinated) and health workers will also be able to obtain the vaccine free of charge and as a priority.
For the first time, community pharmacies will be put to good use, which should make it possible to reach more elderly people and / or people with chronic illnesses, clients called upon to go there often.
Thanks to Bill 31 adopted last March, pharmacists can now give this vaccine themselves rather than having to call a nurse.
Note that people aged 60 to 74 are no longer priority customers, because they are not considered to be at greater risk of being hospitalized because of the flu.
Given the pandemic context, Quebec is banning walk-in “mass” vaccination clinics.
All this mobilization could seem excessive in view of the number of cases of influenza declared in the countries of the southern hemisphere, where the seasons are reversed and therefore where the period conducive to seasonal flu arrives earlier in the year.
In fact, the United States has 18 times fewer cases than usual.
The ministry notes that the health measures in place could explain this marked drop, but prefers not to run a risk given the random nature of this virus.
As many as 6,200 people die each year from complications associated with the flu.