Nova Scotia releases estimates of vaccine appointment eligibility by age

·2 min read

HALIFAX — Health officials in Nova Scotia on Tuesday provided estimates regarding when residents can book appointments in the next phases of the province's COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

By the end of April, Nova Scotia's first phase will have been completed, Premier Iain Rankin told reporters. That phase includes front-line workers, residents aged 80 and older and members of First Nations communities.

During that month, residents between the ages of 55 and 79 — in blocks of five years in descending order — will become eligible to book appointments. The same process will unfold for residents aged 25 to 54 in May and for people aged 16 to 24 in June.

"Like you, I wish I could snap my fingers and have everyone vaccinated already, but a program this size and complexity requires some build time," Rankin said.

He said Nova Scotia has been working toward building the infrastructure to vaccinate the province's nearly one million people with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of June.

During Tuesday's briefing, chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang said he was confident the age-based approach was the best option for building a high level of immunity against the disease.

Strang acknowledged the plan has faced criticism because unlike other provinces, Nova Scotia didn't include people with chronic conditions in the second phase of its plan. He nonetheless defended the strategy.

"I've learned the importance of setting a goal, establishing targets carefully, planning to build a strong foundation and staying focused and trusting your plan when it comes time to execute," Strang said.

Come mid-May, vaccine clinics will be able to administer 86,000 doses a week at full capacity, Strang said.

Health officials said Tuesday pharmacies and primary care clinics will compose 70 per cent of vaccine delivery locations once the province's plan ramps up later this spring. The remaining 30 per cent of locations will be made up primarily of community clinics, one per cent of which will involve clinics in mobile vans.

More than 66,000 vaccine doses had been administered as of Monday, officials said, adding that more than 36,000 will be administered this week.

The province reported one new case of COVID-19 Tuesday, involving an individual in the eastern health region who travelled outside Atlantic Canada. Nova Scotia has 21 active reported infections.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 23, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Danielle Edwards, The Canadian Press