Thousands sign up or line up for a shot after Quebec makes 45 and up eligible for AstraZeneca
More than 30,000 Quebecers get AstraZeneca shots as part of record day, health minister says
Alexis Mills, 50, was one of the first in line at the vaccine site set up in Montreal's Bill-Durnan Arena Wednesday morning, excited to finally be eligible for a shot.
"Like everybody else, I'm tired of being holed in and not social," said Mills, who is looking forward to returning to normal life once enough people are vaccinated.
Mills can now count herself among the lucky ones who managed to get a shot as the province's health minister says more than 30,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine were administered on Wednesday.
On Twitter, Christian Dubé said Wednesday was a record day for the province's vaccination campaign, with more than 85,000 vaccine doses administered overall, including the 30,000 from AstraZeneca.
Dubé added that about 103,000 Quebecers reserved their spot on the first day people as young as 45 were allowed to get the vaccine.
Quebec had received 411,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and administered 219,620, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
That means, as of Wednesday, Quebec had about 191,000 doses to give out.
While some regions are reporting all the AstraZeneca vaccines were reserved or administered by the end of the day Wednesday, it was not clear how many doses, if any, remained available in key places like Montreal.
Other groups, including Quebecers 60 and up, essential workers and people with chronic diseases, are still able to book appointments for Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
Previously, the AstraZeneca vaccine was available only to Quebecers between the ages of 55 and 79, in line with recommendations from the National Advisory Council on Immunization (NACI). Several provinces lowered the eligible age to 40 years and older.
Eligible Quebecers were told to book an appointment on the Clic-Santé website or get the vaccine at one of the province's walk-in sites.
Logging on Wednesday evening to book an appointment in Montreal, the site says it is only accepting people aged 60 years and older or adults under 60 who work in an environment identified as high risk by public health.
While Quebec's vaccination campaign has been largely focused on Montreal, COVID-19 has been sweeping through the Quebec City region forcing it to be among several municipalities under a strict lockdown order.
There were about 3,000 appointments for the AstraZeneca vaccine available there, but all were taken by the end of the morning, according to the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale.
The CIUSSS does not yet know if the region will have new doses and if appointments will be added, but it could happen as early as this week, said Mélanie Otis, spokesperson for the health agency.
The situation is similar in Chaudière-Appalaches region, when around 4,000 available appointments were taken by noon.
In Lévis, Que., there were 750 AstraZeneca doses available by appointment or walk-in. By the end of the day Wednesday, all were reserved or administered.
To date, no further deliveries of the AstraZeneca vaccine, or the COVIShield vaccine, have been confirmed, the Ministry of Health says.
Dubé said that, because the province will be receiving more doses of the Pfizer vaccine than initially anticipated, appointments will soon be opening for more people with chronic illnesses, as well as for some with physical and intellectual disabilities.
with files from Kate McKenna, Sarah Leavitt and Radio-Canada