AstraZenca being offered up appointment-free

By Gordon Lambie
AstraZenca  being  offered up  appointment-free

Health Minister Christian Dubé announced on Wednesday that Quebec will be aiming to speed up the vaccination process in province over the coming weeks, in part by opening up an appointment-free option using the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“We will use the AstraZeneca vaccine to vaccinate as many people 55 years old and older, as possible,” he said. “What we will do is offer this vaccine to all people 55 and older who want to move up their vaccination date.”
The Health Minister said that the hope is to open up appointment slots that have already been booked by offering the option for people 55-79 to drop-in at designated clinics between now and Sunday for a shot of AstraZeneca. Using a coupon system, the staff at those clinics will provide those who show up with a time to come receive their shot, provided that they are in the appropriate age range and are not Immunocompromised.
In the Eastern Townships 13,200 doses of the vaccine will be available through six designated clinics: at the Saint-Isaac-Jogues church in Val-des-Sources (formerly Asbestos), Domaine du Parc shopping centre in Cowansville, at the Centre des congrès Granby, at 3700, Laval Street in Lac-Mégantic, at the Galeries Orford in Magog, and at the Centre de Foires in Sherbrooke. Each site has different hours and dates for the distribution of coupons, some of which have yet to be determined. As of this writing only Sherbrooke will be providing coupons on April 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. On April 9 Sherbrooke will follow the same hours as the day before and Granby’s clinic will open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Granby and Lac-Mégantic’s clinics will then be open on the 10, with Granby following the same hours as the day before and Lac-Mégantic open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Finally, on April 11, the Granby, Magog and Sherbrooke sites will be open; Granby from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Magog from 12:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Sherbrooke from 9:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
The local health authority is also looking to move vaccinations up for those 65 or older who have already scheduled appointments in May or June. Over the coming days close to 10,000 residents of the region should receive calls offering an earlier time to replace their existing appointment.
Dubé also said vaccination for those 60 and older will be opened up across the province starting Thursday, and that the next two phases of vaccination will begin at the end of this week and the beginning of next on the island of Montreal. Whereas until now vaccination has been targeted by age due to the elevated risk of complications and death among those 60 and older, the next steps prioritize younger people living with chronic diseases and essential workers.
Beginning Monday, the Health Minister said, individuals on the island of Montreal who regularly see a doctor for a chronic condition or are currently hospitalized for a condition that puts them at greater risk of COVID-19 will begin receiving doses through their regular physician.
The essential workers phase, meanwhile, applies to the staff of elementary and high schools, daycare workers, public security workers like firefighters, police officers, and prison guards, workers in community organizations, temporary foreign workers employed in agriculture, slaughterhouse workers, and mining sector employees working in remote areas. Workers in the relevant fields will need to provide proof of employment to access the vaccination site.
The health minister said that each of these categories accounts for approximately 150,000 people on the island of Montreal. He provided no information about when regions outside of Montreal can expect these vaccination stages to begin.
The Province of Quebec reported 1,270 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total number of people infected to 319,802 and the total number of active cases to 10,795.
There were eight new deaths reported, bringing that total to 10,709. Hospitalizations linked to COVID-19 increased by 29, reaching 543, and the number of people in intensive care increased by two, to 123.
In the Eastern Townships there were 37 new cases recorded on Wednesday, bringing the regional total to 12,195 with 217 active cases. There were no new deaths, but the number of hospitalizations increased to 14. As of Wednesday’s information, there was only one person in intensive care in the region.
So far, a total of 1,636,310 doses of vaccine have been administered out of 2,358,095 doses received in total. This accounts for 19.2 per cent of the total population of the province. In the Eastern Townships, the 81,366 doses administered so far put coverage slightly lower, at 16.1 per cent, although individual sub-regions vary from 13.6 per cent (in Coaticook) to 21.4 per cent (in Memphremagog.)
The number of variant cases in the province climbed to 12,036, with 66.9 per cent of positive cases returning a variant result. Out of that total, 167 have been in the Eastern Townships.

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