Quebec's under-12 vaccination campaign advances amid rise in new COVID-19 cases

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MONTREAL — Quebec's effort to vaccinate children under the age of 12 entered its second day on Thursday, as the province reported the highest number of new daily infections since mid-September.

Health officials said 163,000 appointments had been booked as of 9 a.m. on Thursday for children between the ages of five and 11, representing about one-quarter of eligible children. Premier François Legault congratulated the "brave" kids who got vaccinated Wednesday, on the first day of the province's pediatric immunization campaign.

"I'm proud of them, really," Legault tweeted, also thanking parents and the teams working at vaccine centres.

The Health Department reported that 7,244 children under 12 were vaccinated Wednesday. Quebec's government has said it hopes to give a first dose by Christmas to all children 12 and under who wish to be vaccinated. A school vaccination program will begin next week.

The pediatric vaccination effort took on new urgency in light of a rise in the number of new COVID-19 cases.

Health officials reported 902 cases on Thursday — the highest number since mid-September — according to data provided by the province's public health institute. Officials also reported five more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

COVID-19-related hospitalizations dropped by one from the prior day, to 210, after 20 patients entered hospital with the disease and 21 were discharged. The number of intensive care patients also dropped by one, to 45.

Also Thursday, booster-dose vaccination bookings opened to people who received two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Third doses are also available for those who are 70 and older and those who are immunocompromised.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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