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Quebec to add drive thru COVID 19 vaccines to immunization campaign

In this Friday, May 1, 2020, photo, medical workers test a local resident at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Waterloo, Iowa. The coronavirus is devastating the nation’s meatpacking communities — places like Waterloo and Sioux City in Iowa, Grand Island, Neb., and Worthington, Minn. Within weeks, the outbreaks around slaughterhouses have turned into full-scale disasters. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

MONTREAL _ Quebec health officials unveiled the city’s first drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination site in a parking lot at Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport on Monday as the province continued to ramp up its vaccination efforts.

Health Minister Christian Dube was on hand as regional health authorities demonstrated how people will be vaccinated without leaving their car.

The operation is expected to be running by May 17, administering 4,000 shots per day, and it could serve as a blueprint for similar sites elsewhere in the province.

Dube said people are eager to get vaccinated, and each time the province opens a new age eligibility, appointments are quickly scooped up.

Authorities opened up appointments to those between 45 and 49 years of age on Monday, and will expand to 40 and up on Wednesday.

With two million Pfizer-BioNTech doses expected in May alone, Dube urged as many Quebecers as possible to get a shot this month.

“If we can vaccinate two million people in May, it means we could accelerate the second dose, which was due after June,” Dube told reporters at the airport.

Dube later reported on Twitter that across Quebec, 75 per cent of people age 55 to 59 have made appointments for their first doses, meeting the province’s target for the age group. However, he said Montreal was still 10,000 bookings short of the goal.

He urged eligible Quebecers to keep signing up, saying the province wants to surpass the 75 per cent threshold in order to maximize herd immunity.

His message came as the province reported 797 additional cases of COVID-19 as well as 16 additional deaths due to the pandemic. Hospitalizations increased by six to 594, while the number of people in intensive care rose by four to 155.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2021.