From the desk of the McGill Parents Association…

From the desk of the McGill Parents Association…

The H1N1 flu virus and your student – Part Two

So the Quebec government has turned down McGill’s request to hold a vaccination clinic on campus. Does that mean my child cannot get vaccinated against H1N1? No it doesn’t!

The provincial vaccination campaign got underway on October 26 according to a specific roll-out schedule. This vaccination sequence was determined using guidelines established by federal public health authorities to ensure optimal protection for those people who run the greatest risk of developing complications and requiring intensive care if they catch the virus.

Vaccination: where and when – and is it available to all?

The H1N1 flu vaccine will be made available to all Quebec residents, at various locations in and around the island of Montreal. All students will have access to the H1N1 flu vaccine through the Quebec Government’s vaccination campaign. Here’s how it works:

Schedule

According to the Quebec government’s schedule, students who are 20 and over, do not have a chronic disease nor care for a child less than 6 months of age will have to wait until December 7 to get vaccinated. The vaccine will be offered free of charge at vaccination sites across Quebec. Do note that this schedule has been amended several times, so it is important to go to the source to make sure it is accurate. The list of Montreal vaccination centres, published by the Ministry of Health, and the current roll-out schedule are available at www.santemontreal.qc.ca/en/.

As of November 12, the roll-out schedule states that your child will be able to receive the H1N1 vaccine according to the following sequence:

  • If your student has a chronic medical problem such as asthma or diabetes or cares for a child less than 6 months of age: right away
  • If your student is 19 or under without a medical condition: as of November 19
  • If your student is 20 or over without a medical condition: as of December 7

Which documents does my child need to bring and what will it cost?

Out-of-province students who are covered by another provincial health insurance plan must present both their provincial health card and proof of residence* in Montreal. The vaccine is free of charge.

International students must present both CAQ/Student Permit and a proof of residence* in Montreal. The vaccine is free of charge.

Students not covered by a provincial health insurance plan, or, studying as an international student may be required to pay for the vaccine out-of-pocket (approximately $15-$20). These students must also provide proof of residence* in Montreal.

*Proof of residence can be in the form of a lease or a utility bill, and can also be obtained by clicking the Personal tab on Minerva

Where are the vaccination centres located and which is closest to campus?

Currently, the two clinics that have been announced and that will be accessible to our student population residing in the downtown core are:

Plaza Alexis Nihon, 1500 Atwater Avenue, metro level, Atwater metro (green line).

This clinic is currently in operation;

Palais des congrès, 1001 place Jean-Paul-Riopelle, metro Place-d’Armes (orange line).

This clinic is set to open on November 16.

Both clinics are to be open 7 days a week, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. They each are approximately 25 minute walk from campus or some 15 minutes away by public transportation.

For the most up-to-date information of vaccination centres as well as other clinics on the island of Montreal, please visit www.santemontreal.qc.ca/en/.

Note that the delivery process of the vaccine has been greatly improved by a wait-line management system. Currently, this means coupons are distributed each morning to people arriving at vaccination centres; each coupon corresponds to a time slot that same day when the recipient is asked to come back to get vaccinated, hence cutting down on waiting time. This means student won’t have to waste a whole day sitting in a waiting room and can instead return to class or to their daily tasks.

What should my student do in the meanwhile?

The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux reminds Quebecers that in 90-95% of cases, people who catch the flu do not need to see a doctor and can take of themselves very well at home. To help citizens protect themselves and others, the government has issued a Self-Care guide which is available here.

What you can do as a parent is stress the importance for your student to receive the H1N1 vaccine. You can also direct your student toward McGill resources, as well as the latest information released by local health officials, presenting the most up-to-date information on where to get vaccinated. There is also a new website featuring physicians from the McGill University Health Centre and which uses the latest in online communication technology to help you and your student understand and better fight the spread of H1N1. The six clips currently available on this site present pertinent information in a way that is very accessible and easy to understand, particularly for the digital generation! More information is also available at www.fightflu.ca.

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