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

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WATCH: Hundreds of seniors over the age of 85 showed up at a Laval vaccination clinic to get their first dose of the much-awaited COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday. Rollout in much of the rest of the province begins on Monday. As Global's Phil Carpenter explains, those who registered to get the shot are relieved. – Feb 25, 2021

Mass COVID-19 vaccinations have begun in Quebec.

Seniors over the age of 85 started getting their shots in Laval Thursday at Quartier Laval on Corbusier Boulevard.

As of 8 o’clock Thursday morning, seniors in that category across the province were able to make appointments — either online or by phone — to get their injections.

According to Laval health authorities, just over 300 people got the needle in Laval.

Read more: Quebec’s registration for COVID-19 vaccines is now underway. Here’s what you need to know

“There are also appointments for 622 people for (Friday) and Saturday as well,” Dr. Jean-Pierre Trépanier, Laval health board public health director, told Global News.

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He said as of Monday, they expect to handle at least 800 people at that location alone daily.

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“If all the appointments are scheduled, we may be able to finish in two weeks,” said vaccination programme director Isabelle Parent.

After weeks of vaccine delays Laval health board officials say they are optimistic.

“We have enough vaccine to accommodate people for 85 years and older,” claimed Trépanier, “and we’ll probably move on to another age group as soon as we’ll see that the people of the first age group responds well.”

The next age category is age 80 and older.  According to Trépanier, they have nearly 15,000 doses of the vaccine this week and expect to get another 10,000 in a few days.  He explained that there are nearly 25,000 people over the age of 85 in Laval, many of whom live in long term care homes and have already been inoculated.

Read more: Coronavirus vaccine hesitancy declining among Quebec health-care workers, researchers say

Among the people getting vaccinated was 88 year-old Fernard Beaupré who said wasn’t fussy about getting the needle.

“Doesn’t matter. At my age I don’t care,” he laughed.  “I wouldn’t come. It’s just my children who are forcing me to come.  They say, ‘You have to get vaccinated. We don’t wanna lose you.'”

Lilian Morais, who’s 86, said she was relieved be finally getting the the shot.

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“You know, it gives us a chance to get out a little bit,” she pointed out, laughing.

According to health officials, anyone getting the shots now are given an appointment for the booster shot 84 days later.

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