Quebec to open vaccination appointments to people with disabilities on Tuesday

·2 min read

MONTREAL — Quebec on Monday advanced the day disabled people can begin booking COVID-19 vaccine appointments and expanded a program in which private companies operate mass vaccination sites at their workplaces.

The Health Department said people with physical or intellectual disabilities as well as those on the autism spectrum will be able to make appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations on Tuesday. The government had planned to expand access to that group on Wednesday but said the vaccination rollout is moving faster than expected.

Health officials reported 889 new cases of COVID-19 — the lowest number since March 29 — along with eight more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including one in the previous 24 hours. They said hospitalizations rose by 10, to 664, and 167 people were in intensive care, a rise of two.

Health Minister Christian Dube said Monday on Twitter despite a "certain stability" in the number of new cases reported daily, the rise in infections over the past few weeks is having an impact on hospitals.

"We must not think that the battle is won even though we're going in the right direction," he said.

Meanwhile, the government said it will expand a program in which large businesses turn their workplaces into mass vaccination sites. The program began Monday with the first shots administered at the Montreal headquarters of flight simulation company CAE.

Under the program, participating businesses will vaccinate their employees and their families, and eventually the general public. CAE, which had received 250 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, said Monday it has the capacity to vaccinate up to 1,000 people a day, seven days a week.

"We are enthusiastic about the idea of ​​obtaining more doses quickly," CAE spokeswoman Helene V. Gagnon said in an email.

The Health Department said Monday morning it will add 10 more companies to the program, bringing the total number of participating businesses to 23, about a dozen of which are to begin vaccinations next week.

Quebec hopes to vaccinate more than 500,000 people at the corporate sites between May and August.

The Health Department said 41,731 doses of vaccine were administered on Sunday, for a total of 2,871,140. It said the province should receive 231,660 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 137,200 doses of Moderna this week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 26, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press