SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- New Brunswick health officials are now looking to reveal by next week when the province might "go green."

The province's health minister had this pandemic projection during a news conference on Friday: "I'm hoping by next week we can tease out the road to green, so that people can see they have something to really push for," said New Brunswick Health Minister Dorothy Shephard. "Get vaccinated; get us there so we can get over that."

The province's green COVID-19 alert level will be unlocked once herd immunity is achieved through vaccinations.

More than 52 per cent of the eligible population have now received at least a first dose and nearly 400,000 vaccinations have been administered so far.

"Seventy-five per cent is our target in terms of having one dose," said New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs. "We feel that's when we're able to make the step change. So, if you project that out over our vaccination rate, you can kind of get there when that looks like a possibility."

While it feels as though the Maritimes may be turning the corner, Halifax-based epidemiologist Kevin Wilson says we're not quite there yet.

Even though we're making progress, he says it's important to continue with public health measures like masking and distancing at this stage.

"We have that kind of awkward position where people are much more protected than they previously were but are not at that full protection and there are a lot of people who have no protection," Wilson said.