Montreal

Quebec to speed up COVID-19 vaccination campaign by not holding 2nd doses in reserve

Initially, Pfizer recommended that governments hold the second doses back, but now that deliveries for the coming weeks are guaranteed, the company says there is no longer a need to keep the second doses aside.

Pfizer says governments no longer need to hold back since deliveries are guaranteed

The company says there is no longer a need to keep the second doses aside. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

​Quebec's Health Ministry announced on Thursday it will use all of its doses of the Pfizer–BioNtech vaccine immediately instead of keeping half in reserve for the required second dose.

Each person vaccinated must receive two doses for it to be effective long-term, and the province had been taking a cautious approach by holding the second dose in reserve.

Initially, Pfizer recommended that governments hold the second doses back, but now that deliveries for the coming weeks are guaranteed, the company says there is no longer a need to do so.

Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia have already started to use the reserve doses immediately in order to reach a larger portion of their population.

As of Dec. 31, 29,250 people in Quebec had been vaccinated.

Quebec set a goal of inoculating 675,000 by April 1 but, based on the vaccinations to date, it will need to step up the pace considerably to get there.

According to the Health Ministry, Quebec has received a total of 87,500 doses (55,000 Pfizer-BioNTech and 32,500 from Moderna).

The six groups who are receiving the priority vaccines are residents in long-term care, health workers, people living in private seniors' residences, people in isolated communities and people aged 70 and over.

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