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COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know on Wednesday

Health Canada has approved the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on young people between the ages of 12 and 15, and groups in Montreal are trying to reduce gaps in vaccination rates with innovative ways of offering doses. Here's what you need to know.

Pfizer approved for people 12 to 15 years old, public health tries to reduce gaps between neighbourhoods

Pfizer has been approved by Health Canada for those 12 to 15. (Stephane Mahe/Reuters)
  • Quebec reported 915 new cases on Wednesday and five deaths. One death occurred in the past 24 hours, while the four others occurred earlier in April. 
  • Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 354,390 confirmed cases and 10,964 people have died. 
  • There are 588 people in hospital (a decrease of six), including 152 in intensive care (a decrease of three).
  • 55,723 vaccine doses were administered in the last 24 hours for a total of 3,365,575 since Dec. 14.

Health Canada has approved the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on teens between the ages of 12 and 15, and Quebec's Health Minister says he expects approval from the province's immunization committee to follow shortly. 

The federal agency offered parents anxious about their unvaccinated children some hope today by clearing the Pfizer product for use in people as young as 12.

After reviewing clinical trial data submitted by the New York-based company last month, regulators have determined the mRNA shot is safe to use in people 12 to 15 years of age, down from the previous cutoff of 16.

Pfizer is the first product to be authorized for use in this younger age category. The three other products authorized for use in Canada — AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna — can only be used in people over the age of 18, for now.

Health Minister Christian Dubé said last week that vaccinating teens would be a priority and that they could be eligible for a shot before the return of the school year.

Dubé tweeted Wednesday morning that the Quebec immunization committee would be making its own recommendation for the province soon.

WATCH | Health Canada approves Pfizer for young teens

Health Canada confirms Canada is the first country to approve Pfizer BioNtech vaccine for kids 12-15.

5 months ago
1:40
Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, briefed reporters on the changes Wednesday. 1:40

Making vaccines more accessible

Public health officials are trying to find ways to make vaccination more accessible to Quebecers. 

In Montreal, the health board overseeing the neighbourhood Parc-Extension, known as Park Ex, opened temporary, no-appointment clinics this week. The goal is to reduce the gap in vaccination rates. 

According to recent figures, only 48 per cent of those 55 and over have been vaccinated in Park Ex, one of the country's poorest and densest neighbourhoods, compared to 80 per cent for the neighbouring Town of Mount Royal, one of the richest areas on the island. 

But community workers there say they have hope that gap will shrink as they've seen a surge in interest in vaccination in Park Ex. 

Another way the province is trying to make it easier for people to get a shot is by opening drive-thru vaccination clinics. Health Minister Christian Dubé says the goal is to vaccinate entire family bubbles at once this way.

The first drive-thru clinic is expected to open May 17 at the Montreal Trudeau International Airport. The airport clinic is already taking appointments through Clic Santé.

Starting Monday, May 10, some restrictions will be lifted in Quebec City, Abitibi-Témiscamingue and other parts of the province, while others, such as Le Granit near Lac-Mégantic and Beauce-Etchemin, will see more restrictions due to large outbreaks. 

Top COVID-19 stories today

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

  • Fever. 
  • New or worsening cough. 
  • Difficulty breathing. 
  • Sudden loss of smell without a stuffy nose.
  • Gastrointestinal issues (such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting).
  • Sore throat, runny or stuffy nose.
  • Generalized muscle pain.
  • Headache.
  • Fatigue.
  • Loss of appetite.

If you think you may have COVID-19, the government asks that you call 1‑877‑644‑4545 to schedule an appointment at a screening clinic.  

To reserve an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine, you can go on the online portal quebec.ca/covidvaccine. You can also call 1-877-644-4545.

Quebec government reminders for preventing the spread of COVID-19: 

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Wear a mask or face covering is mandatory in enclosed public spaces across the province.
  • Stay at least two metres away from other people as much as possible. 
  • Self-isolate for 14 days after returning from a stay outside the country.

You can find information on COVID-19 in the province here and information on the situation in Montreal here

 

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