COVID-19: Quebec hopes to begin vaccinating youngsters by year’s end, health minister says

Quebec’s health minister hopes young children between the ages of five and 11 will be able to get a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as early as this fall.

Christian Dubé made the comments Tuesday as he spoke to reporters at the provincial legislature about the ongoing health crisis.

“I hope that by November — this is what I’m hearing right now — that, at least before Christmas, we could vaccinate for a first time that category,” he said.

The vaccine is currently available to anyone who is 12 and older. The province’s public health institutes report that more than 85 per cent of eligible Quebecers have rolled up their sleeves for a first shot.

Read more: Quebec adds almost 600 new COVID-19 cases, 9 more deaths

On Monday, Pfizer said its vaccine works for children aged five to 11 and that it will seek U.S. authorization for this age group soon. The Canadian branch of the company said it will also presents its data to Health Canada, but did not specify when.

The vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech is already available for anyone 12 and up.

In the meantime, Dubé urged vigilance amid the fourth wave of the pandemic but noted that the number of new cases appears to be at a plateau.

He asked Quebecers to keep abiding by measures to stem the spread of the virus to book appointments for the vaccine if they haven’t done so already.

“We haven’t vaccinated everyone,” he said. “We still have vaccines.”

Click to play video: 'What can be done to protect kids as COVID-19 cases rise in Quebec' 3:51 What can be done to protect kids as COVID-19 cases rise in Quebec

What can be done to protect kids as COVID-19 cases rise in Quebec

with files from Global News’ Raquel Fletcher, The Canadian Press and The Associated Press

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