By Gordon Lambie
Health Minister Christian Dubé told reporters on Thursday that the province of Quebec is preparing to be able to fully vaccinate youths aged 12 to 17 by the start of the next school year. With Health Canada having approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for that age group earlier this week, Dubé said that the province is now working on a plan that would see the youth receive a first dose in the school system before the summer break, and a second dose closer to September.
In addition to that news, the health minister also praised the fact that the Province has now surpassed 40 per cent of the entire population for a first dose. He reminded the population to continue with the enthusiasm that has been demonstrated so far, with 1.2 million vaccination appointments having been scheduled in the past week, and said that he has great expectations for what he called “the week of the youth,” next week.
“I am confident that we will be pleasantly surprised,” Dubé said, acknowledging that people aged 18-34 have had the longest wait of anyone in the province to be eligible to receive a shot. “Young adults can really make a difference next week.”
The minister also shared that although papers indicating that a person has been vaccinated will continue to be given out, the province will also be launching a digital system next week, where anyone who has received a vaccination will be offered a QR code by email that can be scanned as a proof of vaccination.
The province of Quebec reported 907 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total number of people infected to 355,297 and the number of active cases to 8,905.
There were seven new deaths recorded across Quebec on Thursday, for a total of 10,971. Overall hospitalizations and the number of people in intensive care both decreased by eight, to 580 and 144, respectively.
In the Eastern Townships, 55 new cases were reported on Thursday, bringing the total number of active cases in the region to 495. After a long period without change, there was one new death recorded in the community, increasing the regional total to 334. For a second day in a row the region reported eight new hospitalizations, bringing that total to 33, although the number of people in intensive care decreased by two, to six.
The regional public health department issued another targeted call for testing on Thursday to anyone who visited the Le Moulin restaurant at 45, rue Principale Sud in Windsor from April 23 to 25, or April 29 to May 2. There is an outbreak currently being monitored in connection with this establishment.
As of Thursday morning, the province had administered a total of 3,446,157 doses out of the 3,893,539 doses received so far.
Vaccination appointments open today for individuals aged 35-39 years of age.
In the Eastern Townships 193,423 people had received a first dose, with 7,618 also having received their second. Although only 1.5 per cent of the overall population had received their second dose as of Thursday’s figures, the campaign to fully vaccinate residents of the region’s long term care homes did surpass the 50 per cent mark.