Quebec is reporting 745 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and two additional deaths bringing the death toll in the province to 11,552.

Of the new cases, 419 are among people who are unvaccinated or less than two weeks removed from a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Over the last seven days, Quebec has averaged 651 daily infections, with the number of active cases climbing to 6,128.

To date, Quebec has recorded 437,549 infections and 419,869  recoveries.

Hospitalizations decreased by four in the last day, with 201 patients. Of those, 45 were in the ICU.

Quebec’s inoculation campaign continues with people 75 and over eligible to book appointments for a third dose booster shot this week.

Next week, bookings will open up to those 70 and over, as well as to people who received two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

To date, 88.6 per cent of the population aged 12 and over is considered adequately vaccinated.

Quebec to begin vaccinating children under 12

Quebec, however, will soon begin vaccinating children between the ages of five and 11, following Health Canada’s approval of a pediatric vaccine Friday morning.

While Health Minister Christian Dubé told reporters in Montreal the government would unveil details of its plan next week, the hope is to start as soon as possible.

“It will be a very nice Christmas gift if all our kids are vaccinated before Christmas,” he said.

Dubé says the vaccination of children will allow for a return to a new normal.

“After the five to 11, we will be able to lift the essential of the measures,” he said,

However, Dubé admitted we need to learn to live with the virus.

“I think there are some measures that will need to be there I think in public, in transportation there will be some measures that will be there….” he said.

Dubé is hopeful parents will get their children vaccinated and pointed to youth aged between 12 and 17 as a group to be emulated.

“We are not at 97 per cent,” he said of that age group’s vaccine coverage.

He also said Quebecers only had to look at what’s happening in their own backyard to see the difference vaccination can make.

In the province as a whole there are 70 cases per 100,000 people but that number jumps to 500 or 600 active cases per 100,000 people in regions like the Eastern Townships where vaccine coverage is only 10 per cent lower, Dubé explained.

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