New Brunswick expands COVID-19 vaccine campaign to include everyone 18 and older
HALIFAX -- New Brunswick announced on Tuesday afternoon that it is expanding its vaccination program so that everyone 18 or older is now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
"We are continuing to make excellent progress on our vaccine rollout, but we can't let our guard down just yet," said New Brunswick Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. Minister Dominic Cardy. "We’ve just weeks left in the school year and we need your cooperation to make every last one of them count."
If a person, or a caregiver, or family member acting on their behalf, is unable to book an appointment at a clinic online, they may call 1-833-437-1424.
"New Brunswick is setting and breaking records each week for the number of appointments booked and vaccines administered," said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health. "By the end of this week, at least 50 per cent of our population will have received at least one dose of the vaccine. This further expansion of eligibility to everyone 18 and older is good news, but we must continue to be cautious and vigilant as we deal with new variants of the virus."
Walk-in appointments are not available. If you have a vaccination appointment that you cannot attend because you have been directed to self-isolate, please reschedule your appointment.
YOUTH 12 AND OLDER WILL SOON BE ELIGIBLE FOR COVID-19 VACCINE
Cardy said the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is working with Public Health on a vaccine roll-out plan for those 12 and older and expects the details will be announce "very soon."
“Our goal is to make this process as easy as possible for families," Cardy said. "By working together and getting vaccinated as soon as we can, we can help keep our schools healthy and safe as we get ready for a new year."
ASTRAZENECA VACCINE STILL IN THE PLANS
Cardy reiterated his endorsement of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine during a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.
"We are continuing with the use of AstraZeneca," Cardy said. "Shots are on hold because of a supply issue, but when we receive new AstraZeneca doses, New Brunswickers will have another choice to get vaccinated, and to help put this pandemic behind them, and behind us, to be easier to know their loved ones are protected, and their communities, and themselves."
Cardy says he understands that New Brunswickers are concerned about AstraZeneca given the "confused messages from Ottawa."
"The great thing about science is that it's never confused, it either stands up to scrutiny or it doesn't, and in this case, we know that AstraZeneca, can cause in very rare circumstances, some serious side effects," Cardy said. "We’ve seen with the 10s of millions of AstraZeneca doses administered around the world, a tiny number of serious side effects, the same time, we have seen hundreds of 1000s of deaths from COVID-19. When It comes to science, when it comes to risk, the answer is clear."
Cardy said that no one is being forced to take any vaccine.
"This is not a question of which vaccine is riskier, it's about what is riskier: another year of COVID, another year of masks and distance and fear, or two shots and freedom."
Cardy pointed to the widespread use of AstraZeneca in the United Kingdom, which has administered 37 million doses of that type of COVID-19 vaccine.
"Yesterday, the U.K. government relaxed their COVID restrictions, allowing people to hug again," Cardy said.
Cardy referenced a comment made by Oxford University professor of medicine Dr. John Bell, who was talking about Canada's approach and AstraZeneca.
"(He) said that, 'unfortunately, we have too often acted on a lot of hearsay and not facts. You guys are 3.6 per cent vaccinated with two doses, so just wait for the B1617 variant (first identified in India) to rip through the Canadian population, and then the problems you've had with these very rare clotting events will look pretty insignificant,'" Cardy said.
NEW BRUNSWICK REPORTS ANOTHER DEATH
There was another death – the 42nd COVID-19-related death in New Brunswick since the pandemic began.
Russell said a person in their 70s, who was a resident at the Pavillion Beau-Lieu, a special-care home in Grand Falls, N.B., died at the Edmundston Regional Hospital.
The province announced 10 new cases of COVID-19. There are 121 active cases in the province – three more than on Monday.
Of the 10 new cases, nine are in Zone 3 (the Fredericton region). Five of the cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases, two are related to travel and the remaining two are under investigation.
There is one new case in Zone 6 (Bathurst region) involving a person in their 40s and it is related to travel.
Russell said now, more than ever, it's important to follow public health guidelines because many of the new cases are variants of concern, which are more contagious and more dangerous.
"The situation can change overnight," Russell said. "Get tested, follow the public health guidelines. This is so very important to help contain the spread."
TESTING FOR THOSE AT EXPOSURE SITES
Public Health offers COVID-19 testing for all New Brunswickers who have been in a public exposure area, even it they are not experiencing any symptoms. Residents may request a test online or call Tele-Care 811 to get an appointment at the nearest screening centre.
People experiencing one or more symptom are also encouraged to get tested.
For a list of exposure sites in New Brunswick, please refer to the page on the provincial government website.