MONTREAL -- The mayor of a town in Quebec's Beauce region says public health officials must communicate better with citizens about COVID-19 vaccination.

The health authority for the region south of Quebec City says 65 per cent of residents in the Beauce-Sartigan municipality are vaccinated with one dose and 66 per cent of residents in the Robert-Cliche area have had one shot. That's compared with a provincewide first-dose rate of 72.8 per cent.

Jonathan V. Bolduc, mayor of Saint-Victor, Que., and the prefect of Robert-Cliche, says The Health Department needs to send a clearer message about the benefits of getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

Bolduc said an interview Wednesday mixed messaging about masks at beginning of the pandemic and changing guidance about the interval between doses of COVID-19 vaccines have diminished trust in a region where many people are skeptical of government.

The regional health authority declined an interview request, saying it had received comments from people in the area who felt targeted after officials expressed concern about the region's vaccination rates.

Quebec is reporting 99 new cases of COVID-19 today and three more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2021.