295 pharmacies to help rollout COVID vaccine across Nova Scotia
HALIFAX -- More Nova Scotians will be able to roll up their sleeves in the coming weeks as the vaccine rollout ramps up.
"To think of being able to start concentrating on getting everyone vaccinated in a short period of time, it does take away some of the discussions about whose next because really if everyone gets vaccinated in the next 12 weeks, I think we could start to come together as opposed to divide and conquer," said infectious disease scientist Dr. Lisa Barrett.
The Nova Scotia government released a more detailed immunization plan on Tuesday, one that would see all Nova Scotians who want a vaccine receive their first shot by the end of June.
"I think the plan looks good," said Chris Parsons with the Nova Scotia Health Coalition.
"I think the real challenge is that it's one thing to have a plan, it's another thing to actually implement it."
Unlike most other provinces, Nova Scotia had been holding back some of their vaccine supply to ensure second doses could be given.
"Because we have been so slow with administering doses and that was intentional it means that unlike other provinces our ramp-up has to be much steeper compared to other places that were already administering all of their doses. So I think the next couple weeks are going to be critical in seeing whether or not the plan can actually be put into action," said Parsons.
The majority of the vaccines will be delivered through pharmacies and doctors' offices across the province. By May, the province expects to be able to vaccinate 86,000 people per week.
"We've been working very closely with all of our pharmacy teams to make sure they have what they need to be ready," said Allison Bodnar, CEO of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia.
Bodnar says 295 pharmacies will be delivering the shots at the peak of the vaccine supply.
"The quantity of vaccine that each pharmacy would see during the course of a week is very similar to what they would be delivering through the peak of flu season," said Bodnar.
As more vaccine rolls out, it's unclear when or if any health protocols will change.
"We're still gathering a lot of information on how much the vaccine works to prevent very mild infections," said Barrett. "Until we get those data that shows that the vaccines work to prevent even very mild infections from spreading, then we will still be stuck with a bit of that distance and masking until we get there."