MONTREAL - Quebec is reporting 23 more COVID-19-related deaths and a 68-patient drop in hospitalizations.

Health officials say there are 1,834 patients in hospital with the disease, after 112 patients were admitted in the past 24 hours and 180 people were discharged.

Officials say 119 patients are listed in intensive care, a drop of five.

Earlier Friday, the Health Department said Quebecers aged 12 to 17 could start booking appointments for booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine this weekend.

Health Minister Christian Dubé says the decision to offer third doses to that age group is based on advice from the province's immunization committee.

The committee says a third dose should be given to teens who are at higher risk of complications from COVID-19, but it says anyone in that age group is now eligible to receive a booster dose. It says people aged 12 to 17 should receive their third doses at least three months after their second.

Officials say people in that age group should stick to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine because it presents a slightly lower risk of them developing rare complications such as myocarditis.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2022.

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