650K people in Quebec can get COVID-19 vaccine by March: Health Minister

Dec 7 2020, 1:07 pm

Quebec’s Health Minister says 650,000 Quebecers could have access to the COVID-19 vaccine by March 2021.

At a Monday afternoon press conference, Health Minister Christian Dubé says Quebec is scheduled to receive 4,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine by December 14.

He says this will result in 2,000 Quebecers getting vaccinated, citing that each infected person needs two doses for the vaccine to work.

While the number may seem low based on Quebec’s increasingly alarming virus cases and deaths, Dubé says Quebec can receive 1.3 million doses of the vaccine within the first three months of 2021, citing shipments of the Pfizer vaccine and those developed by  Moderna.

“The best estimates we have right is 1.3 million doses or 650,000 people,” he said in French.

In terms of distribution, Dubé says residents at long-term care homes (CHSLDs) throughout the province will be vaccinated first, followed by vulnerable people in isolated communities, essential workers, and then the rest of the population.

Dubé estimates the part of the population who aren’t deemed vulnerable or on the front lines is about 3.4 million people.

“I want to reassure Quebecers of our degree of preparedness,” said Dubé. “We have the resources. We’re able to do the work. As soon as we get them, we will start vaccinating.”

Dubé says Quebec has the staff capacity to widely vaccinate for COVID-19, saying the province has already administered 1.1 million vaccines for influenza over the past six weeks.

Dubé says public health will be able to vaccinate 100,000 Quebecers for COVID-19 per week over the first three months of 2021.

“Today is good news but let’s not be distracted from what we have to keep doing,” he said. ” “Quebecers need to remain diligent and not ease up on public health protocols. The vaccine is not a cure. People will still get COVID-19 over the next several months.”

On Monday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada will receive its first COVID-19 vaccine in December, which is expected to begin shipping next week. Trudeau said Pfizer will begin early delivery of their vaccine candidate, providing up to 249,000 of their initial doses in December.

According to Trudeau, the first shipment is being tracked for delivery next week. These doses are part of the up to 76 million Canada has secured through its existing agreement with Pfizer.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is still pending Health Canada approval.

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