Hundreds of retired health-care workers apply to help administer COVID-19 vaccines
HALIFAX -- While the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses in Nova Scotia are in short supply, people are quickly stepping up to help with the vaccine rollout when more shots arrive.
The Nova Scotia College of Nursing put out a call for nurses, practising or retired, to help with administering COVID-19 vaccines.
"In recognized emergencies, qualified nurses not currently licensed in Nova Scotia can be quickly processed in the conditional licensure category," wrote the Nova Scotia College of Nursing on their website. "There is no fee for this license. Individuals who have practice hours within a defined timeframe, and who did not have a condition or restriction on their license at the time may qualify."
In just two weeks, the college says 210 retired nurses have been approved for a license.
"We will take as many as come forward," said Sue Smith, the CEO at the Nova Scotia College of Nursing. "When we get the volume that we are committed to receiving, and the goal that Dr. Strang and the Premier spoke about, 10,000 to 12,000 vaccinations a day, it will be really important to have all hands on deck."
The Nova Scotia Health Authority says 330 physicians and dentists have expressed interest in the immunization plan.
As of Wednesday, there have been 850 new volunteer applications submitted. Doctors Nova Scotia isn't surprised with the interest.
"Nova Scotia's really pulled together and I think people are looking for ways to contribute to the community," said Dr. Robin MacQuarrie, the president of Doctors Nova Scotia. "So, although we're all tired and ready for this all to be over, I think we are seeing that people are looking for ways to give back because they do feel so thankful for everybody doing their part in Nova Scotia."
Pharmacists are still in discussions with the province about how they can help with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. The Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association also says they're prepared to help out, if needed.
"I do know in other jurisdictions in Canada, veterinarians have been recruited to assist with the vaccination of their population," said Dr. Frank Richardson, with the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association. "We're here to be part of the solution, if asked, and we're standing ready to cooperate."
To date, Nova Scotia has administered 12,286 COVID-19 vaccines, but the province won't be receiving any new doses of vaccine this week.
"We're going to have to take the time where we've got a lull in the delivery of vaccines and look at really much more innovative ways of getting vaccine out," said Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease specialist. "We have to stop looking at regular medical models."
Nova Scotia is currently in the first phase of a three-stage plan that would see everyone vaccinated by September 2021.