The COVID-19 vaccination rollout has picked up steam in the last week across Quebec.
The number of daily shots administered to Quebecers has increased by 10 per cent between Feb. 5 and 11. To date, 2.9 per cent of all Quebecers have been inoculated with the first dose, but a spokesperson for the public health department told Global News the second doses won’t start being administered until March.
That’s a problem for many senior citizens who received the first shot in mid December and January.
Both vaccine makers, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, recommend the second dose be administered by a maximum of 42 days after receiving the first shot. For many senior Quebecers, that deadline has long passed.
“In general, their immunity is not as good as young people,” Dr. Cécile Tremblay, microbiologist infectious diseases specialist at the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), told Global News.
Dr. Tremblay recommends that senior citizens receive the second dose within the recommended timeline established by the two pharmaceutical companies. Quebec lawmakers are allowing for up to 90 days to pass before people start receiving a second dose.
“I would certainly think that for elderly people it would be very important for them to get the second dose quickly,” Dr. Tremblay said.
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At the West Island regional health board (CIUSSS l’Ouest-de-l’île), 6,944 health care workers have received a first dose of the vaccine according to the nurse’s union spokesperson, Elizabeth Rich.
But none have received the second dose.
“No clarity,” Rich told Global News to describe the lack of information from public health officials on when the workers will receive a second shot.
Rich received her first vaccine shot on Dec. 27 and has no idea when she will receive the second.
“I don’t even know if I’m protected or not,” she said.
At the CHUM, 5,979 medical workers have received their first dose — but here, too, there is no indication when a second dose will be administered.
“Nobody has received the second dose yet,” Dr. Tremblay said.
Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand announced on Friday that the federal government has accelerated its purchase of both vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna to receive 84 million doses by the end of September.