FREDERICTON — Officials in New Brunswick urged residents on Wednesday to get vaccinated against COVID-19, as the province pushed toward a target that would allow a partial reopening next week.
Seventy-five per cent of people aged 12 and older need to get at least one shot before the first phase of the reopening plan can kick in on June 7. About 64.5 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers have received at least one dose of vaccine, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard told reporters Wednesday.
Shephard said there is enough vaccine supply and appointments available in each region of the province to reach the government's target. "I know this is a lofty goal, but if we want to take this first step this is what we need to do," she said. "Achieving our target by June 7 is possible but we are depending on you to help us get there."
If the target is reached, people from Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador would be able to travel to the province without having to self isolate upon entry, while cross-border commuters and truck drivers would also be able to forgo testing or quarantine requirements.
The first phase of the reopening plan removes outdoor gathering limits and caps indoor gatherings to 20 people. Indoor faith gatherings are also allowed at 50 per cent capacity and with an operational plan.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said about 45 per cent of vaccine appointments were still open through Monday. "So this is your call to arms," Russell said. "We are making great strides … but we do need all hands on deck."
Health officials reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. Four cases were identified in the Fredericton region and another four in the Bathurst area, while three cases were in the Moncton area and one was in the Saint John region.
The province has 140 active reported cases of COVID-19 and there are seven New Brunswickers in hospital with the disease, including two in intensive care. One intensive care patient is in a hospital outside the province.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2021.
The Canadian Press