First shipment of Moderna vaccine arrives in New Brunswick

·3 min read
First shipment of Moderna vaccine arrives in New Brunswick

Another 1,200 New Brunswickers will be vaccinated against COVID-19 beginning next week after the first shipment of Moderna vaccine arrived in the province Wednesday afternoon.

Shawn Berry, a spokesperson with the Department of Health, said 2,400 doses were expected. Since half of the shipment is going to be reserved for the second dose to be administered after 28 days, only 1,200 New Brunswickers will be getting shots this time around.

Berry said the province is collaborating with partner agencies to administer the vaccine to long-term care residents in nursing homes and adult residential facilities around the province.

He said the "vast majority" of vaccines will go to long-term care residents, including a long-term care facility within a First Nations community. He said the priority is for residents over the age of 85.

While New Brunswick hasn't been specific about when other "older" populations will be eligible to receive the vaccine, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization suggested that people over 70 be in the first wave of vaccinations. The committee recommended starting with people over 80 and then decreasing by five-year increments to 70 as supply becomes available.

"As availability of the vaccine increases and eligibility is expanded, information will be provided to indicate how individuals in other eligible groups can register to receive the vaccine," Berry said by email.

CBC News
CBC News

Berry said a small number of doses may go to those who work at long-term care facilities, or to health-care workers, but only if there's enough to go around after the priority residents are vaccinated.

He said health officials are currently contacting facilities around the province to arrange vaccinations beginning next week.

"As availability of the vaccine increases and eligibility is expanded, information will be provided to indicate how individuals in other eligible groups can register to receive the vaccine," said Berry.

The province's first vaccination clinic was held in Miramichi on Dec. 19 and 20. A second clinic was held Dec. 23, 24 and 27 in Moncton. Both of those clinics used the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

So far, two COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for use in Canada.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved by Health Canada on Dec. 9, and the first doses arrived in New Brunswick on Dec. 15.

Moderna's vaccine was approved on Dec. 23 "after a thorough, independent review of the evidence" on safety, efficacy and quality requirements, officials said in a release.

The two vaccines are among several that have been pre-ordered by the Canadian government.

Evan Mitsui/CBC
Evan Mitsui/CBC

Both require an initial dose and a followup one — Pfizer-BioNTech after 21 days and Moderna after 28.

Pfizer-BioNTech has said its vaccine is 95 per cent effective at preventing COVID-19, while Moderna said its vaccine is more than 94 per cent effective.

The province has said more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are on the way, with 3,900 scheduled to arrive next week, and "regular deliveries" starting the week of Jan. 11.