By Matthew McCully
Minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé announced in a press conference Thursday that the vaccination campaign for 12 to 17-year-olds will begin Tuesday, May 25.
Vaccination centres will have times reserved for that age group on evenings and weekends to accommodate students’ schedules and allow family bubbles to get vaccinated together starting Tuesday, and between June 7-14 schools will help with the campaign by setting up trips to vaccination centres in groups. In some cases, mobile vaccination units may visit schools, depending on the situation.
Dubé said the Pfizer vaccine has been proven safe for young people, and clinical trials have shown the vaccine is close to 100 per cent effective against COVID-19 in that age group after a second dose.
According to Dubé, 12 to 17-year-olds account for around six per cent of the population of Quebec, numbering 530,000. The plan is to get as many people in that age group a first dose of vaccine by June 23 so that the majority can be given a second dose before heading back to school in the fall, the health minister explained.
With a goal of getting 75 per cent of the province fully vaccinated by the end of August, Dubé pointed out that the 18 to 44 age range is lagging. To hit the 75 per cent mark for that age group, Dubé said there are 360,000 vaccination appointments that haven’t yet been made.
They should hurry, Dubé said, explaining that those appointments will likely go fast starting next Tuesday.
To be eligible for the vaccine, 12 to 17-year-olds are required to provide a consent form to schools, Minister of Education Jean- François Roberge added. Those 14 and over can sign their own forms, but students 12 and 13 years old will require the consent of one parent or guardian to get a vaccine through school.
Quebec reported 662 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of people infected since the beginning of the pandemic to 365,642. There are currently 6,634 active cases in the province.
Eight new deaths were reported Thursday, bringing the total in Quebec to 11,066.
Hospitalizations decreased by six for a total of 460, and 107 patients are in intensive care, down six from the day before.
In the Estrie region 53 new cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday, 18 of which were in Coaticook, with 14 in Granit, 12 in Sherbrooke and two or less in each of the other local health sectors. No new deaths were reported in the Estrie, the total remained stable at 342.
A total of 4,636,679 Quebecers have received at least one dose of vaccine so far. In Estrie, 260,538 people have received a vaccine.
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