Can Quebec achieve herd immunity? Experts point to worrying trends
MONTREAL -- Quebec may currently be vaccinating against COVID-19 at a record pace for the province, but experts warn that trends south of the border could spoil chances of achieving herd immunity.
“We may very easily get to a point where supply outstrips demand and in that situation, it's going to become a much more difficult problem of science communication, trying to convince people that they do need to be vaccinated because otherwise we're going to have just enough unvaccinated people in the population for this virus to continue to circulate and cause future outbreaks,” said cardiologist Christopher Labos.
A recent survey found high levels of vaccine hesitancy and belief in conspiracy theories around vaccines among Quebecers under the age of 55. The survey comes as the eligibility age for the shots is gradually being lowered, with all Quebecers over the age of 18 being able to book an appointment as of May 14.
In the United States, over 50 per cent of adults have gotten at least their first shot, but rates of vaccination have begun to slow in recent weeks. That's not yet an issue in Quebec, where on Friday, data released for the previous 24 hours showed Quebec had administered over 100,000 doses of vaccine. A day later, Quebecers received another 90,000 doses.
To encourage vaccination, the government has begun focusing on making the shots as convenient as possible, opening numerous workplace clinics in the province. One such site at Pratty & Whitney in the South Shore opened for workers and their families on Saturday.
“It started a little slow because I think it wasn't well known the vaccine hub was open yet, but once people started to become aware, including our partners, it filled up very, very quickly,” said Pratty & Whitney Canada spokesperson Allen Christensen. “I'll say we're sold out for the week.”