Quebec says vaccinating very young is 'personal choice' for parents

Quebec's public health director says the province won't try to convince parents to have their children under age five vaccinated.

2,000 Quebec children under of 5 received COVID-19 vaccine in 1st week of offer

A man seated behind a microphone and a laptop.
Dr. Luc Boileau says Quebec's seventh wave of COVID-19 infections appears to be levelling off and will slowly start to decrease. (Charles Contant/CBC)

Quebec's public health director says he won't try to convince more Quebec parents to get their very young children vaccinated.

One week into the vaccination campaign of children age six months to five years, around 2,000 children have had the Moderna vaccine delivered in a child-sized dose.

But Dr. Luc Boileau points out that another 8,000 children have appointments to get their shot soon.

"It's a personal choice for parents, there are advantages to being vaccinated, but it's not something that needs to be done, except for kids that really need it," Boileau told reporters.

He said the children most in need are those at high risk of developing serious illness, such as those who are immunocompromised.

Boileau said few children have been hospitalized due to the disease, or developed serious illness, other than in a couple of "tragic situations."

Boileau said the number of new COVID-19 cases in Quebec is expected to decline slowly and he expects the seventh wave of the pandemic to reach a plateau in the coming days, followed by the slow decline.

"It went up more slowly and it will go down more slowly," he said. "That's why it's important to remember that the virus is continuing to spread. If it doesn't descend quickly, it's because there's still a lot of infections and spread of the virus."

Quebec reported 16 additional deaths linked to the novel coronavirus and a 46-patient decline in the number of hospitalizations Friday.

The Health Ministry said 2,176 people are in hospital with the disease, including 68 people in intensive care, a decline of one from the day before.

It said 738 of those patients, including 31 of those in intensive care, were specifically admitted due to COVID-19.

with files from the Canadian Press