Quebecers are heading to the internet in record-breaking droves to sign up for their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine as the province widens its immunization campaign and expands efforts to get people vaccinated.
Health Minister Christian Dubé says more than 236,000 appointments were made Tuesday, the highest single-day tally so far.
The province lowered the minimum age requirement to anyone 40 and older in the late afternoon, a day earlier than planned.
“There are still appointments available this week in several regions,” Dubé wrote on social media Wednesday, urging eligible adults to register.
As Quebec widens access to the vaccine, Dubé also welcomed the news Wednesday that Health Canada has authorized the Pfizer vaccine for adolescents aged 12 to 15.
But the province is waiting for its own immunization committee to weigh in on administering the shot to teens. Dubé said the committee’s recommendation will be made public as soon as it is issued.
“It’s good news. We must vaccinate as many Quebecers as possible,” he wrote. “At the same time, operations are being prepared. The network will be ready.”
His message to get vaccinated comes one day after Premier François Legault said that immunization is key to having a “great summer.”
Officials in Montreal, meanwhile, prepared for a second day at a mobile walk-in vaccine clinic at a mosque in a hard-hit neighbourhood where vaccine rates have lagged behind the city average.
Health officials have said the clinic will make vaccination easier for citizens of Parc-Extension, some of whom work unconventional hours at essential jobs or don’t speak French or English.
In the same vein, the government is rolling out a massive advertising blitz to encourage Quebecers to get their shots. The ads, which will be published in English and French, will air on television and radio as well as being printed in newspapers.
The campaign will rotate with the existing advertising aimed at reminding people to comply with public health orders and sanitary measures — such as physical distancing and handwashing — to stem the tide of the novel coronavirus.
Quebec has administered more than 3.3 million shots since the vaccine rollout started in December. The majority of vaccinations have been a first dose.
So far, a little more than 38 per cent of adults have received a shot in the province.
The province says all adults will be able to book an appointment by mid-May. The goal is to give a first dose to anyone who wants one by June 24.
— With files from The Canadian PressView link »