Vaccination without appointment: Quebecers answer the call | Coronavirus

In Quebec, coupons giving access to an appointment quickly found buyers this morning. Getting your hands on one of these coupons allows you to get vaccinated the same day.

Less than fifteen minutes after opening, at 6 a.m., the clinic located in L’Ancienne-Lorette, one of the two clinics for walk-in vaccination in the Capitale-Nationale, had distributed 300 coupons . At the Quebec Mental Health University Institute, 960 coupons were given out before 7 a.m.

In the Outaouais, where cases of COVID-19 and the resulting hospitalizations are on the rise, the line wasted no time in forming at the entrance to the Palais des congrès de Gatineau. By 7 a.m., around 100 people were waiting to get an appointment.

A similar scenario has been observed in Jonquière, in Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean, as in Sherbrooke, in Estrie.

At the Palais des congrès de Gatineau, the line was formed before the opening of the vaccination clinic.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Patrick Louiseize

On the Montreal side, where 7 clinics welcome Quebecers aged 55 to 79, hundreds of people were also in line before the opening, at 8 a.m., in front of the Olympic stadium. For this clinic alone, 2000 doses were made available.

In the case of the metropolis, people wishing to be vaccinated with AstraZeneca will have to line up outside, explained the health authorities. If this queue is evaluated at more than an hour of waiting, people will be given a coupon specifying the time to return.

Meanwhile, in Shawinigan, the clinic located in the Gilles-Bourassa arena is preparing to welcome up to 50 people every 15 minutes, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., assured the CIUSSS de la Mauricie-et-du. -Centre-du-Quebec. Other vaccination centers will open in the coming days in the region, particularly in Trois-Rivières and Drummondville.

Note that the place of residence is not a determining factor in registering for the walk-in: clinics accept visitors from any region of Quebec, provided they were born in 1966 at the latest. , said a spokesperson for public health.

A man shows a coupon for getting vaccinated.

Daniel Fullum, from Repentigny, was happy to have been able to get his hands on a precious coupon.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

Walk-in clinics until Sunday

Very happy From the response of Quebecers, the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, was passing through the Olympic stadium on Thursday morning to testify to this enthusiasm.

The minister assured that adjustments will be made on Friday to ensure that clinics do not run out of doses. Public health, he explained, had guarded against room for maneuver to get vaccines to the sites that need them most.

But faced with the impressive participation of citizens – which has not yet been quantified – the Ministry of Health has decided to send all the doses that had been withheld by the authorities, the time to assess the progress of the vaccination without an appointment.

Minister Dubé estimates that the campaign could continue until Sunday; it only remains to see if the interest of Quebecers is maintained.

Do not forget that the appointment setting starts again tomorrow [vendredi], he stressed.

Asked about the number of doses that will be administered on Thursday, the minister replied: I would like to be surprised!

A controversial vaccine

The craze for walk-in vaccination is good news for the Quebec authorities, who are trying to work harder to curb the transmission of variants and stem the third wave.

Especially since it is the AstraZeneca vaccine, the efficacy and safety of which had recently been questioned.

Minister Christian Dubé, who himself received the AstraZeneca vaccine, encouraged Quebecers to register for the walk-in, considering the recent resurgence of the virus and its variants. Those who decide not to be vaccinated with AstraZeneca will have to take their troubles patiently before receiving their first dose, he explained at a press briefing on Wednesday.

It is up to Quebecers to do an informed choice, he added.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended that this vaccine not be used for adults under 55 years of age, due to serious, albeit rare, blood clots that have occurred after inoculation of the vaccine in Europe. By the end of March, several provinces had suspended its use for this age group.

The link between this vaccine and the occurrence of rare blood clots caused by a low platelet count is nevertheless increasingly difficult to ignore, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the UK Medicines Regulatory Agency said on Wednesday. and health products.

However, they are unable to explain the exact origin of these clots and continue to stress that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks.

Some clinics in Bas-Saint-Laurent, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Gaspésie and Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Côte-Nord will begin their walk-in vaccination campaign on Friday only.

Residents of Abitibi-Témiscamingue will not, however, be entitled to it: the AstraZeneca vaccine cannot be inoculated due to the transmission of variants that takes place in this region, public health said.

As of Wednesday, a total of 1,636,310 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province. Health authorities have so far received 2,358,095 doses.

Canada expects to receive approximately 6.4 million doses of AstraZeneca by the end of June.

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