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N.B.'s COVID-19 booster eligibility expands to those aged 18 and over, some areas experiencing high demand


New Brunswick public health opened up booking Monday for anyone over the age of 18 looking to get their third dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.

People can book their shot through one of the regional health authorities or a local pharmacy.

At Ford’s Family Pharmacy in Moncton, N.B., a steady stream of people were doing just that.

“We were anticipating this was going to happen probably this week so we ordered lots of Moderna. We’ve got lots of stock, we’ve got more stuff coming in again tomorrow,” said owner and practicing pharmacist, Peter Ford.

When Ford arrived at work around 10:30 a.m., his employees informed him the pharmacy phones were ringing off the hook earlier in the day.

“From 9 to 9:30 a.m., we had 12 lines coming in here, we didn’t even have enough staff to answer all the phone calls, but then it just stopped, which is kind of weird,” said Ford.

The wait time for online bookings Monday morning was surprisingly short as well, with the majority of people experiencing between a 15 to 30 minute wait.

Some, however, had reservations regarding the province’s ability to provide the shots in a timely fashion.

JC D’Amours, the MLA for Edmundston-Madawaska Centre, sent out a tweet earlier in the morning claiming there were no available appointments for booster shots in the Zone 4 area.

“As of today, GNB is opening up booster doses to 18-49 year olds. Where are the appointments available? Zone 4: no availability in Edmundston and Grand Falls. #GNB #organized,” read the tweet.

CTV News reached out to D’Amours for comment but did not receive a reply.

When asked about the tweet, New Brunswick Liberal Party Leader Roger Melanson said he worries public health does not have the capacity to provide the number of appointments needed.

“If you want to book an appointment for a booster shot it takes time and too much time. It takes four or five weeks to get an appointment, so it comes back to capacity,” said Melanson.

Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said she has heard more positive feedback.

“I’ve been hearing more of the 10 to 14 days and I think I want to assure New Brunswickers that if we need more clinics in certain areas, those are being worked on now to try and open it up, but we also have pharmacies helping us,” said Shephard.

According to New Brunswick’s COVID-19 online dashboard, 194,816 out of 750,000 people, or 26 per cent of the eligible population, has received their third dose.

“As of yesterday, we had 32,000 vacant appointments for our now 18 plus, and we had about 9,000 that’s been booked today so far,” said Shephard.

Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 online dashboard is reporting 19.9 per cent of the eligible population has received a booster dose. 

Wayne Marcotte said he stood in line with more than 100 other people for his shot at the Captain William Spry Community Centre in Spryfield, N.S.

“I wanted to get the Pfizer. I was booked for the other one, Moderna, but I wanted to get my Pfizer because the first two was Pfizer,” said Marcotte.

Ford says he cautions people about being fussy over Pfizer, adding that any approved mRNA vaccine is a good choice.

“There are people on the fence about getting Moderna versus Pfizer, but they forget that every day their immunity is going down. So, you wait another three months, that’s nine months; you’ve probably got no immunity at that point, so get Moderna,” said Ford.

Shephard adds that both regional health authorities, as well as the province, have been reaching out to more pharmacies across New Brunswick, asking them to assist in administering vaccinations.

“We understand that December is a difficult time for pharmacies to be doing vaccines, and I know that we have more coming on board,” said Shepard.

As of Jan. 10, New Brunswick is reporting that a total of 1,500,679 doses of vaccine have been administered. Top Stories

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