Quebec plans to give the second dose of the novel coronavirus vaccine within a maximum of three months for patients who have already received their first dose.
Health Minister Christian Dubé says the province’s strategy is “clear” and that the government wants to vaccinate “as many vulnerable people as possible” as the health crisis brings an uptick in hospitalizations and deaths.
Doing so will also reduce the pressure on Quebec’s fragile health system, he added.
“Our experts are recommending the second dose be recommended 42 to 90 days after the first,” he told reporters Thursday, adding that deliveries have gone well so far.
Canada’s vaccine advisory committee has recommended the second dose of approved COVID-19 vaccines be given a maximum of 42 days after the first, but Dubé says the committee has acknowledged that the interval can be extended when necessary, based on the disease’s progression.
However, Dubé says health officials will be able to reduce the interval between first and second doses once more vaccines are available.
Since the rollout began last month, Quebec has given about 115,000 vaccines to two priority groups: residents in long-term care homes and health-care employees.
Dubé says more than half of long-term care residents have now received a first dose of the vaccine. Under the plan, vaccinations are expecting to start in private seniors’ residences on Jan. 25, he added.
The health minister also stressed that while vaccines are a key element in fighting the pandemic, Quebecers need to continue abiding by health measures to stem the tide of COVID-19.
“Vaccination is an important measure but we must remain extremely vigilant,” he said.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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