The number of appointments for the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine has risen sharply this week in Quebec, according to Health Minister Christian Dubé.

In a brief message posted to social media Friday morning, Dubé notes that in the last few days, appointments for first doses have increased from 1,500 per day to more than 6,000.

The minister took a moment to thank those who finally decided to get vaccinated, reiterating that it is never too late to receive a first dose of vaccine.

Thursday, Dubé announced that vaccine passports would be required to enter Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) and Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) locations starting Jan. 18.

He explains the decision was made to curb an increase in cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant.

He says he hopes this measure will be an additional incentive for some people to get their first dose of vaccine against COVID-19, as more than 50 per cent of people currently hospitalized are non-vaccinated people, though they represent about 10 per cent of the population.

Dubé adds in the coming weeks, other non-essential services, including personal care, could be added to the list of places requiring a vaccine passport.

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Jan. 7, 2022.