The Montérégie-Ouest Integrated Health and Social Services Centre (CISSSMO) is intensifying its efforts against COVID-19 in the Haut-Saint-Laurent in response to stalled vaccination rates across the region. Mobile walk-in clinics will now take place in several municipalities over the summer to increase vaccination coverage.
As of July 7, the total number of individuals in the Haut-Saint-Laurent Local Health Network (LHN) over the age of 12 who have received at least one dose was 15,927, which amounts to just over 60 per cent of the eligible population. This falls a full 13 per cent below the average rate for the Montérégie, where coverage in all other regions is now comfortably above 70 per cent.
In a press release issued by the CISSSMO, the regional health organization recognizes the seriousness of the situation while acknowledging it is unable to provide an explanation for the stark difference in vaccination rates between the Haut-Saint-Laurent and neighbouring regions. As such, the CISSSMO has decided to focus on increasing access to vaccination clinics to ensure the region meets its objective of 75 per cent of the population aged 12 and over being adequately vaccinated by fall.
“We are continually adapting our actions to make vaccination as accessible as possible to the population,” says Patrick Murphy-Lavallée, the president and assistant director-general for the CISSSMO. He credits a productive collaboration with local partners in the Haut-Saint-Laurent for a quick response on the ground. “With the arrival of new variants and deconfinement, we must do everything possible to increase vaccination coverage and avoid future outbreaks of COVID-19 in the community,” says Murphy-Lavallée.
The first mobile vaccination centre took place in Howick on July 6, where all available doses were administered. Upcoming walk-in vaccination clinics offering the Pfizer vaccine will take place on July 12 at the Recreation Centre in Hemmingford, located at 550 Goyette avenue, from 4 p.m. until all available doses have been used. A clinic will take place on July 13 starting at 9 a.m. at the Town Hall in Dundee, located at 3296 montée Smallman. Doses will be available as well in Saint-Anicet on July 13, at Proxi Extra La Maisonnette, located at 3939 Route 132, as of 1:30 p.m.
Dates and locations of future walk-in vaccination clinics will be available on the santemonteregie.qc.ca website and will be posted on the CISSSMO’s Facebook page. The CISSSMO is also inviting residents to suggest locations for walk-in clinics within the region by contacting their municipality.
Appointments may still be booked through the Quebec.ca website or clicsante.ca, or by calling 1-877-644-4545. There are several time slots available over the next seven days at the vaccination centres in Ormstown and in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield.
Social distancing reduced to one metre
Social distancing measures will be loosened further on Monday in green zones across the province. All capacity limits in retail businesses will end, with social distancing reduced to one metre. Masks will still be mandatory.
Masks may now be removed in private residences and at outdoor gatherings when two-metre distancing can be maintained. In outdoor public places, masks may be removed when a minimum distance of one metre between people is possible.
Significant reductions in the number of daily cases of COVID-19 as well as steady vaccination rates have meant the Quebec government has been able to move ahead with the loosening of measures despite the spread of variants. There have now been 25 confirmed cases of the Delta variant identified in the Montérégie region.
To continue to encourage vaccination and keep the spread of variants at bay, the Quebec government has now promised to introduce a COVID-19 vaccination passport in September. The passport will only be used when necessary during outbreaks or in regions where cases are spiking, and it will only limit access to non-essential activities.