“I’m warning people today that the third dose will be adjusted for the passport, and we better be ready for that,” said Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé in a press conference on Jan. 6.
The minister was responding to a question as to whether there will come a time when the government requires Quebecers to get additional shots in order to use their vaccine passports.
No specific date was provided for the change, but Dubé said it will be made as soon as all Quebecers have access to booster shots. Currently, the general public aged 50 and older can book appointments for third doses, as can pregnant women, health-care workers, and other select groups. By Jan. 21, all adults will have access to a booster.
Dubé added since there is no way to predict if other variants will arise in the coming months, the province is prepared to have the vaccine passport requirements “adjusted” accordingly.
“We’re going to be ready to use this passport over the next year or so,” he said.
The Quebec government also announced on Jan. 6 that Quebecers have to show their proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to enter liquor and cannabis stores starting Jan. 18.
Quebec’s vaccine passport is required to access businesses such as bars and restaurants, which have been closed to reduce COVID-19 transmission. Liquor and cannabis stores, however, are still open during the lockdown.
Dubé said he hopes the new rules will push unvaccinated individuals to get the shot and said he only introduced new rules for liquor and pot stores because they are owned and operated by the provincial government. He hinted that the government will also extend the vaccine passport mandate to shopping malls and other “non-essential services.”
“I’m going to be very clear, it’s only a start,” he said.
“This will not be the last two [sectors]. We are in communication in the coming days with all non-essential services, shopping malls, you name it, and we’ll make sure that when they are announced, they have the proper time to put in place the measures,” he added.
“But the message I’m sending to non-vaccinated people [is]: if you don’t get vaccinated, stay home.”
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.