Quebec is making the AstraZeneca vaccine available to those 45 years old and older starting Wednesday, Premier François Legault announced Tuesday afternoon.
The AZ vaccine was subject to halts in some countries because of some blood clots amongst younger women, but Health Canada has declared it safe.
The Premier urged Quebecers to make appointments to get their dose. "The vaccine is our way to regain our freedom, but only when the majority are vaccinated," he said.
Legault also said Quebec's situation regarding new cases and hospitalizations are better than Ontario's, but he maintained the situation in the Outaouais, the Beauce and Quebec City areas are still concerning in terms capacity in hospitals and deaths. He extended the emergency measures in those areas (closure of non-essential businesses and schools) until May 3.
For Montreal and Laval, Legault said that the number of hospitalizations and cases are high, but still stable. He expressed surprise at the relatively low numbers, including 224 new cases in Montreal reported today.
"The big cities are where the most transmissions happen, but measures are working," he added. "I know there have been some reactions to the 8 p.m. curfew, it's not fun to go home at that time. But we can't exclude the fact that there can be an increase in cases in the next few days and weeks. We're following the situation closely." He also noted an increase in hospitalizations in general for those between 45 and 60.
"Quebecers are not giving up the fight against the virus. We're not immune to the fragile situation in Ontario. We have to remain careful."