Vaccine to roll out to 15,000 Islanders by end of March, Morrison says

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Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison hopes to have "just over 15,000" people on Prince Edward Island vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of March.

"The goal would be to get everyone by the end of the summer," she told a briefing on Tuesday.

Acknowledging that not everyone will be able or willing to receive the vaccination, Morrison said coverage for 75 to 80 per cent of Islanders is the goal for her office.

"From what we know about vaccine and protecting those who can't get it, it is very important to get a certain level of the population vaccinated," so that vulnerable groups are protected by some level of communal or herd immunity, Morrison said.

Updates on the number getting shots will be posted weekly, she promised.

2nd doses start this week

More than 1,900 Island health-care workers received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in December. On Wednesday, they'll start getting the second dose, which should provide 95-per-cent immunity within 10 days, according to peer-reviewed studies.

Steve Bruce/CBC
Steve Bruce/CBC

Morrison said the province expects to finish vaccinating residents and staff at long-term care homes by the end of this month.

Then will come vaccines for people in "congregate living arrangements" such as group homes, community residential facilities and shelters.

Next up, as Islanders aged over 80 start getting their first doses, will be truckers and rotational workers.

Other age groups will follow, starting with residents aged over 75, then those over 70, and so on.

Deliveries guaranteed for 2 months

Morrison said the province's supply of approved vaccine doses has been confirmed for delivery until late February at this point, with 975 doses per week from Pfizer-BioNtech alone.

The province is also in line for two monthly shipments of Moderna vaccine doses, which requires less careful handling than the Pfizer-BioNtech product. About 2,400 are expected per month in each of January and February.

More shipments are expected to be confirmed for March.

Morrison said long-term care homes outside the Charlottetown area will get the Moderna vaccine.

"Both vaccines are excellent vaccines approved for use by Health Canada," she noted.

Reminder about symptoms

The symptoms of COVID-19 can include:

  • Fever.

  • Cough or worsening of a previous cough.

  • Possible loss of taste and/or smell.

  • Sore throat.

  • New or worsening fatigue.

  • Headache.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Runny nose.

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