The province will have five vaccine delivery models: community clinics, pharmacy clinics, primary care clinics, outreach clinics, and mobile clinics. Two-thirds of the vaccines will be available in pharmacies and medical clinics across the province.
Tuesday’s update includes a schedule that breaks down the immunization plan by age. By the end of March, clinics are expected to open to people aged 75 to 79. Younger age groups will be treated in five-year increments:
- April: 75 to 79, 70 to 74, 65 to 69, 60 to 64, 55 to 59
- May: 50 to 54, 45 to 49, 40 to 44, 35 to 39, 30 to 34, 25 to 29
- June: from 20 to 24, from 16 to 19 (children under 16 are not covered by current vaccines)
By May, the province will reach full vaccine delivery capacity with approximately 86,000 doses administered per week.
Nova Scotians aged 80 and over can reserve their vaccine now at 10 community clinics and 15 pharmacies.
People aged 60 to 64 are eligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine at 25 pharmacies and primary care clinics. All clinics were full on Tuesday except Inverness. For more information, go to https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/book-your-vaccination-appointment/.
Vaccines are also provided at outreach clinics in First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities and shelters across Nova Scotia.
The province received its largest shipment of Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday – 30,000 doses – Premier Iain Rankin said at a press conference on Tuesday.
“Yesterday, we again surpassed our daily record with 3,800 armed doses of vaccine,” he said. “As we receive more and more vaccines, we will intensify this deployment. We will accelerate until April with the goal of 200 pharmacies distributing the vaccine by the end of this month.
If the forecast vaccine supply figures hold, Nova Scotia will experience a sharp increase from the last week of March, when 100,000 doses are forecast. So far this month, we have received 57,000 doses.
The province expects to receive 182,100 doses in April, 203,440 in May and 415,910 in June.
Strang defends the program
There has been criticism of the pace of immunization in Nova Scotia, which is the lowest in the country in terms of the percentage of the population vaccinated. Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, defended the province’s approach in Tuesday’s briefing.
He said Nova Scotia was one of the few provinces that initially withheld vaccine doses to ensure the province had enough for second vaccines. Evidence at that time indicated that a second injection approximately 21 to 28 days after the first was needed for optimal effectiveness.
This restrained approach helped the province when vaccine supply was cut off in February by manufacturing and other delays, Strang said.
The recommendations for the second dose were eventually changed to a 16-week interval, but Strang said public health wanted to honor second-dose commitments that had been made to people who received their first dose.
By April 2, those second-dose commitments will be met and no vaccines will be withheld for second doses, Strang said.
All first doses by end of June
“Every dose that we get in the province starting this week will actually be given as the first dose. … Our overall objective is to strengthen the immunity of the population against COVID-19 as quickly as possible, ”he said.
“A key goal is to give every Nova Scotian the opportunity to receive a first dose by the end of June, and then everyone to receive a second about four months later. as our vaccine supply increases. ”
Strang also responded to complaints about people with health conditions not getting vaccinated earlier. So far in the pandemic, the number of serious illnesses and deaths related to COVID-19 has disproportionately affected the elderly, especially those over 80.
“By vaccinating people by age, we quickly build a wall of immunity around people with health problems until they can get vaccinated themselves. ”
Strang said public health measures of masking, social distancing and regular hand washing have also helped keep COVID-19 activity low in Nova Scotia, protecting those with health problems. health and everyone in the province.
Over 66,000 Nova Scotians had been vaccinated as of March 22, and over 20,000 had received their second dose:
- Those who work directly with patients in hospital or at home (e.g. nurses, paramedics, home care): 24,000 people
- Those who live and / or work in groups (eg. Licensed long-term care, residential care): 40,000 people
- Nova Scotians 80 and over: 48,000 people
- People at increased risk, including First Nations, African Nova Scotians, residents and shelter staff: About 50% of these people are vaccinated. Work is underway with communities to identify participants with the goal of vaccinating them all by the end of April.
Health workers and staff as well as residents of licensed long-term care facilities will be fully immunized by the end of April.