Quebec is cutting the wait time between the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from 16 to eight weeks and adults will be able to advance their appointments for their booster shots throughout the month of June.
The Health Ministry made the announcement mid-day Thursday for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines.
The decision to shorten the interval was made following advice from the province’s immunization committee, according to the ministry.
Quebec has already shortened the interval for AstraZeneca’s vaccine last week. But only people who are 45 years and older were able to get that vaccine amid concerns about a rare blood-clotting condition.
Health Minister Christian Dubé also presented the plan to allow people to reschedule second-dose appointments.
All adults will be able to bump of the date of their booster shots by the end of June. The province will gradually open registration by age starting with those 80 and older next Monday.
Younger groups will then be able to do the same in the coming weeks. Adults who are 18 and older will be the last to be able to do so, with the date set for June 23. The full list of dates for each age group is available online.
In Quebec, more than 75 per cent of adults have received a first dose of vaccine — three weeks earlier than the province had originally planned, Dubé said.
“We’re very happy,” he said. “We have succeeded in our first objective.”
He said the government hopes to be able to fully vaccinate 75 per cent of the adult population before the end of August.
“We want to go back to school, we want to remove those masks, we want to do all those good things,” Dubé said.
The health minister also thanked health-care workers, businesses and pharmacists for working tirelessly to make the vaccination rollout happen. Dubé said if he could have brought balloons to the press conference, he would have “just to show the state of mind that we have today.”
“We tend to forget that we vaccinate between 8 o’clock and sometimes 8, 9, 10 o’clock at night, weekends, and we have vaccinated more than five million doses in the last four months,” he said. “So, this is huge.”
Dubé also encouraged anyone who hasn’t already gotten or registered for their first shot to do so as soon as possible.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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