Quebec health officials reassure AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine safe

Click to play video: 'What you need to know about the COVID19 vaccine in Quebec' What you need to know about the COVID19 vaccine in Quebec
WATCH: There are many unanswered questions when it comes to who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 shot in Quebec. As the province continues to vaccinate essential workers and those with chronic illnesses, many people are wondering what is the exact vaccination criteria. Global's Elizabeth Zogalis explains – Apr 13, 2021

Quebec is reporting 1,490 new COVID-19 cases and 12 additional deaths Tuesday as hospitalizations rise and the vaccination rollout continues to ramp up.

Quebec City saw the highest number of new infections in the province, with 341. It was followed by Montreal with 300.

Health Minister Christian Dubé took to social media to announce that more than two million shots have been administered to date. On Monday, 56,620 doses were given.

“That’s one in four Quebecers who have received their dose,” he wrote, adding that the pandemic’s finish line is not far off.

During a press conference addressing the current health crisis, Dubé said Quebec remained on track to achieve its goal of inoculating adult Quebecers who want the vaccine with at least one dose by June 24.

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The province is expecting to receive 2.2 million doses of vaccine, excluding the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, by the end of May and then another four million doses in June.

Read more: Canada reports 1st blood clot in AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine recipient

The health minister also confirmed that the province had recorded its first case of a rare blood clot in a person who had received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The province is currently only administering the vaccine to those aged over 55.

Dubé said the female patient, whose age was not disclosed, had received the proper care and was recovering at home.

He also added it was a situation health officials knew could happen, with the risk estimated to be one in 100,000.

“More than 100,000 people have been vaccinated in the last five days and we’re talking about one case,” Dubé said.

Quebec’s public health director, Dr. Horacio Arruda, credits the province’s vaccination protocol for detecting the case.

“The fact that we have detected one shows that we have a system that can detect this kind of problem, the people know how to treat this situation and we will continue to follow this situation as we do for any big side effects in vaccine programs in Quebec,” he said.

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He maintained the vaccine is safe to use and added COVID-19 itself can create “embolic” or “coagulation problems.”

Read more: Quebec premier tells young people to ‘respect the rules’ as emergency COVID-19 measures extended

Arruda said the risk of developing the complication is higher with the disease than with the vaccine.

“That’s why it’s still part of our good tools in fighting COVID-19,” he said.

In a press release, the Health Ministry noted that undesirable symptoms usually develop in the days following vaccination.

Officials recommend dialing Info-Santé if a recently vaccinated person observes the following symptoms: severe or persistent headaches, blurry vision, chest pain, shortness of breath, swelling in the legs, cold limbs, persistent abdominal pain and bruising on the skin.

Dubé also announced that starting Wednesday, those with chronic illnesses and essential workers across the province, would be able to book an appointment via the government’s Clic Santé website. Together, those two groups account for 1 million people.

The hope is to have the higher risk groups inoculated by the end of May.

READ MORE: Anti-curfew protest in downtown Montreal leads to 6 arrests, 192 tickets

Meanwhile, the number of pandemic-related hospitalizations remains on the rise. There are 643 patients, an increase of 13 from the previous day.

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Of them, there are eight more people in intensive care units for a total of 150.

The latest screening data shows that 28,046 tests were administered Sunday.

The province’s caseload stands at 329,472 while the health crisis has killed 10,756 people over the past 13 months. Recoveries have now surpassed 305,000.

With files from The Canadian Press

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