QUEBEC CITY -- Over the past week, many adjustments have been made by the government to vaccinate as many people as possible against COVID-19 and to optimize the use of resources.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is well underway in pharmacies in the region, while appointments are flying on the Clic Santé platform.

"We started on Tuesday, April 6. Everything was quickly booked," said pharmacist Marc-Étienne Cloutier, co-owner of Familiprix in Chambly.

"At the moment, we have Moderna in our pharmacy. Everything is going very well. We have enough to inject 100 doses a day."

On April 5, Le Journal de Chambly reported that time slots were available for the vaccination of people aged 65 and over at the Chambly Seniors' Centre on April 26 and 27 and on May 2, 3, and 7. Across the province, there were thousands of no-shows for appointments and the cancellation of several duplicate and triple appointments scheduled several times by the same individuals.

Also on the evening of April 5, the problem was remedied by including 60-year-olds in the Montérégie region in the priority group that could make appointments on the Clic Santé platform to be vaccinated in participating establishments.

The vaccination campaign was eventually extended, not only to the priority groups, but also to people aged 55 and over who wanted to be vaccinated right away, even if it meant offering them the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is the least popular on the market.

"I am 57 years old. I haven't seen my parents in over two years and my mother is extremely ill. She has end-stage emphysema and I don't want to visit her without being vaccinated. I am ready to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine without any problem, if it speeds things up," said Carl Boucher, a resident of Chambly.

Against all odds, this decision has brought a monster rush to the walk-in vaccination centres.

Spots for the vaccination offered with AstraZeneca were snatched up in several regions of Quebec. As early as April 8, the first people showed up at the CERVO research center in Quebec City, in the Beauport area, and at the L'Ancienne-Lorette site in the early morning hours to get a spot.

On social media, Health Minister Christian Dubé expressed his satisfaction: "I saw for myself the success of the first day of walk-in clinics for AstraZeneca. Thank you to Quebecers for answering the call. Your government will continue to adjust as we go along," he wrote. 

In a press conference, he promised to vaccinate all those who want to be vaccinated by June 24: "There are 79 days left and I have 3.7 million doses to administer by June 24," he said.

"I'm very happy, as long as we're above 44,000 doses a day."