Quebec expands COVID-19 vaccinations to include younger seniors

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Quebec’s mass vaccination campaign gets underway in earnest in the Montreal area Monday as the province begins inoculating members of the general public 75 years of age and older.

The province announced last week that it was booking appointments for seniors 85 years old and up across the province, or 80 years old and up in Montreal.

Quebec began accepting appointments last Thursday, with nearly 100,000 booked on the first day.

Some regions started vaccinating members of the general population late last week, but the campaign is expected to speed up considerably with the opening of mass vaccine clinics in the Montreal area, including one at the Olympic Stadium.

Read more: Health officials optimistic as mass COVID-19 vaccinations begin in Quebec

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Outlying regions are expected to ramp up after the March break holiday, which gets underway Monday.

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Quebec has so far concentrated its vaccination efforts on health care workers, people living in remote regions and seniors in closed environments such as long-term care and private seniors residences.

The province has chosen to delay giving second doses in favour of administering the first injection to as many people as possible, but last week the province’s health minister said it will start offering second doses beginning March 15.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault said Saturday that the start of the mass vaccination campaign was giving him “a lot of hope,” even as he expressed concern about spring break week and the spread of new virus variants.

In a Facebook message, he urged Quebecers to remain vigilant for the coming weeks to allow the province to vaccinate more people, and to wait for immunity to fully develop in those who have received a shot.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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