Mass vaccinations in Quebec's private seniors' homes to begin in February amid slowed deliveries from Pfizer
MONTREAL -- As the Quebec prepares to launch its vaccination campaign in the province's private long term care homes, slowed Pfizer deliveries are delaying immunizations across the country.
On Monday, Health Minister Christian Dubé wrote on social media that, while about 9,000 residents have already been vaccinated, "mass vaccination will begin in the week of February 8, depending on the doses we receive."
A public health spokesperson told CTV News the vaccination rollout, which was scheduled to begin on Jan. 25, was under review.
“Considering the significant reduction in doses of Pfizer vaccine to be received for the next two weeks,” they wrote in a statement, “we must review the vaccination schedule, especially for [private residences].”
Just what that schedule will look like is still unclear, but for residents of the province's 182 care homes experiencing outbreaks, the situation is critical.
"When [COVID] comes in, let me tell you, it goes fast," said Marie-France Lacoste, director of the Fulford Residence in downtown Montreal.
Lacoste is one of 30 staff members to have caught the coronavirus at the Fulford.
All but three of the 31 residents have COVID-19, and three have died from it.
As of Saturday, there were 1,281 active cases in private seniors' residences, and 300 reported deaths. The province reported 25 residences were in critical condition, including the Fulford.
Lacoste says she still doesn't know when they'll recieve the vaccine.
"It's sad ... because we were so close," she said.
DOSES DELAYED FOR RENOVATIONS
On Jan. 14, Dubé said the province planned to begin vaccinating residents of private care homes after everyone in the public system had received a dose.
The next day, the province announced half the expected supply wasn't going to arrive as planned while Pfizer expands its European manufacturing facility.
Previously, Quebec said it was on track to administer 250,000 doses before Feb. 8.
That goal has since been cut to 225,000, amounting to about 2.66 per cent of people in the province.
As of Monday morning, 218,755 doses of the vaccine had been given out, amounting to 2.56 per cent of the population.
With files from CTV News Videojournalist Emily Campbell and Digital Reporter Selena Ross.