By Gordon Lambie
Hailing it as “a good day for Quebec” Health Minister Christian Dubé announced that COVID-19 vaccination will progressively open up to all adults in Quebec between now and May 14.
The general population rollout begins April 30 with 50–59-year-olds who have not already secured an appointment, and proceeds with a new five-year group every two days after that.
Appointments for 45–49-year-olds open up on May 3, for 40–44-year-olds on May 5, for 35-39-year-olds on May 7, for 30-34-year-olds on May 10, for 25-29-year-olds on May 12, and for 18-24-year-olds on May 14. As a result of this new schedule, Dubé said that he now has “no doubt” in the province’s ability to reach its goal of getting everyone who wants one a first dose by June 24.
Looking at the specifics of the vaccinations, Public Health Director Dr. Horacio Arruda explained that for the time being the province will not be lowering the approval age of the AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccines below 45 years of age, but he expressed confidence that the supply of doses will meet the demand.
Despite the good news regarding vaccination, Dubé noted that some regions in the province are still under increased pressure as a result of the virus. On that note he announced that sections of the Bas-St-Laurent region will be placed under heightened control measures as of Saturday night.
The Province of Quebec reported 1,042 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total number of people infected to 348,732; and the number of active cases to 9,954.
The province recorded 10 new deaths, but the total number of deaths only increased by five to 10,913, due to the withdrawal of five deaths not attributable to COVID-19.
The number of hospitalizations decreased by 20 to 623, but the number of people in intensive care increased by four to 165.
In the Eastern Townships the daily report came in high again, with 61 new cases reported on Thursday, 46 of which were from either the Granit or Sherbrooke regions. The total number of active cases in the region has increased to 443 as a result. The concentration of infections in the Granit region in comparison to its population on Thursday was almost as high as that of the neighbouring Beauce region, which is currently under special control measures.
The number of hospitalizations in the Townships decreased by three to 21. The number of people in intensive care remained unchanged, at five. There were no new deaths in the region.
The total number of vaccinations in the province as of Thursday morning was 3,039,512 out of 3,298,629 doses received in total.
In the townships the number of people who had received a first dose of vaccine increased to 170,827, 3707 of whom had also received a second. The Memphrémagog region continues to have the most complete vaccine coverage in that area, with 40 per cent of the population having now received a single dose.