By Gordon Lambie
Quebecers who received the Moderna or the AstraZeneca vaccine for their first dose are now able to move up the date of their second dose online. Although Quebec initially put off the rescheduling process for all but the Pfizer vaccine, new appointments were opened up on Tuesday for those 50 years of age and older thanks to increased supply of the two vaccines.
In offering an update on the vaccination campaign in the province Tuesday afternoon, Health Minister Christian Dubé noted that more than 1 million people have now received a second dose and praised the 12-17-year-old age group for their enthusiasm, pointing out that 71 per cent of them have either received their first dose or have an appointment to do so.
Where the youngest group eligible to receive a vaccine is doing well, however, Dubé said that there are still roughly 170,000 people aged 18-39 in the province who have yet to make an appointment.
“What that signifies is one in three Quebecers in this age category,” The health minister said, encouraging the public to reach out to those who are hesitant. Although the number is significant, Dubé said that the province has the capacity to bridge that gap in two days if people just make the appointments.
“We are not sheltered from a rise in cases in the fall,” he added, underlining the fact that vaccination is the best protection against a future rise in cases.
As of Tuesday, 6,883,110 doses of vaccine had been received by Quebecers, 1,014,628 of which were second doses. As a result, 69.2 per cent of the population has now had a single dose, and 14 per cent are considered adequately vaccinated.
In the Eastern Townships 343,182 people have received a first dose, and 62 556 have received a second, accounting for 67.8 per cent first-dose coverage, and 12.4 per cent for the second. Looked at across age groups, local coverage is most lacking in the 18-29 group, where 59.9 per cent of eligible individuals have received a first dose. The 30-39-year-olds are the next lowest, with 6.2.2 per cent, followed by 12-17-year-olds at 65.3 per cent. The 40-49 age group is just 1.7 per cent shy of the 75 per cent target, and all older age groups are well above 80 per cent overall.
Outside of the vaccination campaign, the province adjusted its rules for bars on Monday afternoon, the same day that they were reopened inside and out. Under the new regulations, drinking establishments can serve alcohol until midnight and must close by 2 a.m.
The province of Quebec reported 105 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the total number of people infected to 373 217, with 1,630 active cases.
There were six new deaths recorded, but the total number of deaths linked to the virus since the start of the pandemic only increased by four, to 11,177, as two deaths previously reported were determined not to be caused by COVID-19.
The number of hospitalizations in the province dropped to 209, 50 of whom were in intensive care.
Only two new cases were reported in the Eastern Townships, one in Pommeraie and the other in the Haute-Yamaska, for a total of 66 active cases. There was one new death recorded for a total of 351, and 11 people were in hospital, none of whom were in intensive care.