Nova Scotia’s vaccine rollout on track: Strang

    Pictured during a provincial COVID-19 briefing on Jan. 22 in Halifax is Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

    By: Janet Whitman

    HALIFAX: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is getting jabs over Canada’s vaccine supply glitches, but the slowdown in deliveries isn’t expected to derail the province’s plan to have 75 per cent of Nova Scotians vaccinated with the recommended two doses against COVID-19 by the end of September.

    Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, says vaccine maker Pfizer has indicated the supply hiccups are a short-term issue, which means everything should still be on track for mass inoculations to start in the spring.

    “At this point, we’re not anticipating any changes to our 90-day plan,” Strang said during a daily pandemic briefing on Friday. “It’s just within that 90-day period we’re going to have to be flexible, with less vaccine now and those delayed amounts to come later in February and March.”

    In the first 30 days, the province is focusing its vaccination effort on healthcare workers, with clinics set up at Dalhousie University, Cape Breton Regional, Valley Regional and Colchester East Hants Health Centre, with the IWK, Yarmouth Regional and St. Martha’s Regional Hospital to follow.

    Supply also is starting to trickle in for long-term care facilities in the central and eastern zones.

    The next step, in the 60-day part of the plan, is to set up prototype community clinics for those aged 80 and up in Halifax and Truro with notifications made through MSI information. Pharmacies will be testing prototype clinics in that phase with prospects for a broad rollout around the province.

    Within 90 days, new mass immunization clinics will be set up, with an expansion of pharmacy, primary health care and outreach clinic models.

    Allison Bodnar, CEO of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia, says pharmacies are hoping to play a big role, as they have been with flu vaccines.

    She notes that 95 per cent of Nova Scotians live within five kilometres of a drugstore, making them a convenient option.

    “We have the infrastructure,” she says. “We hope to be a big part of the solution in the spring.”

    As of Jan. 24, the province confirmed that 11,083 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, and of those, 2,708 Nova Scotians have received their second dose.