Quebec expands COVID-19 vaccination to those with chronic illnesses, disabilities

Click to play video: 'Quebec clarifies who is eligible for vaccination in the current priority groups'
Quebec clarifies who is eligible for vaccination in the current priority groups
WATCH: People with specific chronic illnesses, as well as those with physical and intellectual challenges and their caregivers will be in the next wave of vaccination spots that begin opening up on Friday. As Global's Phil Carpenter explains, the health minister says the general population could start booking their vaccination appointments by the end of May. – Apr 22, 2021

Quebec is expanding its COVID-19 vaccination rollout to include more people with chronic illnesses and those with intellectual and physical disabilities, the province’s health minister said Thursday.

Christian Dubé made the announcement in the company of Dr. Horacio Arruda, director of Quebec public health, and Daniel Paré, head of the inoculation campaign.

“We can now, with the recommendation of public health, expand to other vulnerable groups,” he said.

Under the plan, the province is widening access to include more people under the age of 60 with chronic illnesses starting Friday. The category includes diabetes, obesity and respiratory problems.

READ MORE: Quebec adds almost 1,250 new cases as province sets another COVID-19 vaccination record

Prior to that, only people who were considered very high risk or requiring hospital care were able to receive a first dose.

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Quebecers who have intellectual or physical disabilities can also register for this first shot starting April 28. Caregivers of eligible people are also able to book a vaccine appointment.

Dubé said he’s counting on the good faith of people to identify themselves if they qualify and not to take advantage of the self-identification system if they don’t, adding that anyone who thinks they fit into one of the categories should not hesitate to get vaccinated.

Click to play video: 'Quebec expands COVID-19 vaccination to those with chronic illnesses, disabilities'
Quebec expands COVID-19 vaccination to those with chronic illnesses, disabilities

He also said he is confident the supply the province has will be sufficient to inoculate the additional groups.

The priority is to vaccinate those who are vulnerable before opening up inoculation to all adults, he added.

READ MORE: Provinces want tightened travel, land border restrictions to limit COVID-19 variants: Legault

“We’re talking about weeks,” he said, adding that vaccination sites are ready for a ramped-up rollout but need more vaccines.

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The latest change comes after the province dropped the minimum age requirement for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from 55 to 45 this week. As a result, newly eligible Montrealers have been flocking to vaccination centres.

Quebec’s goal is to give a first jab to any adult who wants one by June 24. The province has given more than 2.5 million doses since the campaign started last December.

Click to play video: 'Generation Xers flock to Quebec COVID-19 vaccination centres'
Generation Xers flock to Quebec COVID-19 vaccination centres

With files from the Canadian Press

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