Quebec will become the first Canadian province to mandate a booster as part of it's vaccine passport, Health Minister Christian Dubé said at a press conference today.
Though Dubé provided no exact date for when the definition of “fully vaccinated” would change in Quebec, the health minister explained that the change would happen after all residents were provided an opportunity to receive a booster dose of a COVID vaccine, tentatively scheduled for the end of February.
Currently, all adults in Quebec will be able to book an appointment for a booster shot beginning on January 21.
Asked by a member of the media about whether Quebec would require a fourth, fifth or sixth dose, the health minister responded, “Well, let's start with a third dose first.”
“I think it's very clear that, given what's happening now, will there be another Omicron version, whatever, in April or May? I don't know,” Dubé said. “We have put this tool in place, it has worked from last fall, from last summer, to a couple of weeks ago before we got hit by this tsunami.”
“We're going to be ready to use this passport over the next year or so — and that's the reason I'm warning people today that the third dose will be adjusted for the passport, and we'd better be ready for that,” Dubé warned.
The province also announced it was expanding where it requires vaccine passports.
Starting on January 18, Quebecers will now be required to provide proof of vaccination at the SAQ, the provincial alcohol retailer, and the SQDC, the provincial cannabis retailer. Vaccine passports will also now be in use at “certain non-essential commercial” businesses in the coming weeks.
Dubé said he would “like to reassure people that yes, this very difficult right now, but we are doing all the measures to make sure that we minimize the impact on our personnel, on our system,” before adding a common refrain heard during the pandemic, “that we are going to go through this all together.”
The subject of booster doses as a requirement for continued validity of vaccine passports was raised by Quebec-based Rebel reporter Alexa Lavoie directly to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau following the English-language leaders' debate during the 2020 election.
Trudeau refused to answer the question, and no other journalists pressed the prime minister for his thoughts on the topic.
Quebec is currently under a curfew between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m, a restriction put in place by Premier Francois Legault's government that began on December 31.
Rebel News is fighting back against vaccine passports through a partnership with The Democracy Fund, a registered Canadian charity, that is taking on a targeted legal challenges against these restrictions. To sign a petition, see the current legal cases, or to make a tax-deduction eligible donation, visit FightVaccinePassports.com.
To see more coverage of Quebec's lockdown, as well as lockdowns across Canada, visit LockdownReports.com.