COVID-19: More Moderna vaccines allow Quebec to speed up second dose appointments

A man is welcomed at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

More Moderna vaccines will allow Quebec to accelerate its timeline for second doses, Health Minister Christian Dubé said, after Ottawa on Wednesday announced it expected to receive seven million doses of that vaccine this month.

“Thanks to this announcement, we can quickly move second doses ahead for those who have received Moderna,” Dubé tweeted, adding that Quebec is still waiting for delivery details from the federal government.

Last week, Quebec said people can rebook their vaccination appointments after it shortened the interval between first and second doses of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

But on Monday, Dubé said only people who had received the Pfizer vaccine would be able to reschedule their appointments due to limited supplies of the Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.

READ MORE: Quebec reports 178 new COVID-19 cases, 8 more deaths as hospitalizations drop

On Wednesday morning, the Health Department said Quebec was expecting to receive 21,700 doses of Moderna this week. After the federal announcement, it said it now hopes to receive an additional 1.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine this month.

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People will be able to begin rebooking their appointments for second doses of Moderna once the delivery dates and the specific quantities that will be sent to Quebec are confirmed, spokeswoman Marie-Hélène Emond wrote in an email.

Second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are available at walk-in vaccination sites, she said, and by appointment in parts of the province.

In Montreal, walk-in clinics are administering the Pfizer vaccine for first and second doses, said Annie Dufour, a spokeswoman for the health board in south-central Montreal. The Moderna vaccine has been offered at some walk-in sites in the past and may be offered again at those sites as supply increases, she added.

According to Quebec’s public health institute, 66.9 per cent of residents — and 76.5 per cent of those over 12 — have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. About 9.4 per cent of residents are adequately vaccinated: either they received two doses or have had the disease and received a single dose, the institute said.

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Meanwhile, Quebec reported 178 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, the fourth consecutive day health officials have reported fewer than 200 new infections. Officials also reported eight more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including one within the previous 24 hours.

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The Health Department said hospitalizations dropped by six from the day before, to 257, and the number of intensive care patients remained unchanged at 60.

Health officials said 74,208 doses of vaccine were administered Tuesday, adding that 20,137 COVID-19 tests were completed that day. The positivity rate was 0.8 per cent — the first time since last August Quebec’s test-positivity rate dropped below one per cent, Dubé said.

Montreal reported the highest number of new cases Wednesday, with 61, followed by the Chaudière-Appalaches region, south of Quebec City, with 21 new infections.

The Chaudière-Appalaches region is the most affected on a per-capita basis, with 50.2 active cases per 100,000 people, according to the province’s public health institute. There are 26.5 active cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people in Quebec.

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