Quebec health officials say the number of COVID-19 vaccine bookings doubled on Thursday after the province announced it would be implementing a vaccination passport system.
Health Minister Christian Dubé said on Friday that 11,519 Quebecers booked their first dose Thursday, which he says is double the number from the days before.
“With the vaccine passport and the fourth wave, the people who made the effort to get vaccinated shouldn’t be deprived of activities,” he said in a statement. “It’s up to those who are late to conform.”
Warning the province appears to be entering the fourth wave, Premier François Legault made the passport announcement Thursday alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said he was in full support of Quebec’s decision to implement the system in order to boost vaccination rates and curb the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.
“Canadians have understood that to get through this pandemic, they need to be vaccinated,” Prime Minister Trudeau said. “It’s not just a question of individual choice, it’s a question of protecting the community and our children who haven’t had the opportunity to be vaccinated.”
Premier Legault said his government will outline how the passport system will work and when it will begin in the coming days. He said the province doesn’t plan to return to lockdowns that marked the first three waves of the pandemic.
“We’ll put in place the passport so that people who made an effort to be vaccinated will be able to return to a normal life,” Premier Legault said. “It means some non-essential services will be available only to vaccinated people.”
Health Minister Dubé said Thursday that 62 percent of new COVID-19 cases in Quebec involve people who are unvaccinated or less than two weeks removed from a first dose. He warned the fourth wave will hit those without adequate protection the hardest.
This comes as Quebec continued to see a spike in infections on Friday with 218 new reported COVID cases and the first virus-related death since July 22.
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