Quebec’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign continues to pick up steam.
This week, 594,770 doses are expected to arrive, according to the health department’s press release — the most scheduled for the month of May.
Meanwhile, more than 166,000 Quebecers registered for vaccination appointments on April 30, according to an email from the public health department.
“I’m actually very optimistic, very positive about how this is going,” Dr. Don Sheppard, McGill University’s Chair of Immunology, told Global News.
As of May 3, the public health department is reporting that 37 per cent of all Quebecers have now received at least one shot.
Challenges remain to try and convince those who oppose the restrictions set in place to get vaccinated, as well as reaching some of the more vulnerable people who may not be able to get to vaccination centres.
“For those communities where it’s harder to get to a clinic for whatever reason, we go out to them,” Dalia Toledano, vaccination director at the CIUSSS l’Ouest-de-l’île, told Global News.
Questions are now emerging about when Quebec will reach a herd immunity — that critical number of people who have enough antibodies to preclude the virus from spreading.
Dr. Sheppard says it’s a long-term process, not a target that is reached overnight.
“We’ve seen it in our older population because the hospital rates in elderly individuals in Quebec have been dropping and that’s the first sign of herd immunity,” Dr. Sheppard said.
And another infectious disease expert says reaching herd immunity is dependent on enough people being fully vaccinated, whether that’s with one shot or two.
“That fully vaccinated at around 70 or 75 per cent of the population is what we should be trying to aim for to get this under control,” Dr. Donald Vinh, an MUHC Infectious Disease Specialist told Global News.
Quebec is hoping to vaccinate 5.3 million people with at least one dose by June 24.