New Brunswick gearing up for bigger vaccine shipments
FREDERICTON -- New Brunswick’s Health Minister says while the province currently has the ability to administer about 4,000 vaccine doses a day, he province will see a delivery of 10 times thatnext week.
It is expected that 17,460 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will arrive this week, with more than double that forecasted to arrive next week.
The shipment will include a total of 41,570 doses, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Opposition leader Roger Melanson says he'll be watching to see how quickly those dosesmake it into the arms of New Brunswickers.
"How much time will that take -- what will be the gap between receiving and actually vaccinating people?" Melanson said.
New numbers Monday show that just over 51,000 New Brunswickers have been immunized with at least the first dose of the vaccine.
But the province has received almost 76,000 doses and about a third of those are being held "in reserve" for second doses, or planned clinics.
Paramedics who want to help administer the vaccine say they’re facing a roadblock to making that happen.
"We're hearing from our paramedics about this odd bureaucratic situation which they are required to be observed by, what public health is calling, an expert immunizer," said Chris Hood of the Paramedics Association of New Brunswick.
That "expert immunizer" must watch a paramedic administer the vaccine -- from start to finish -- three times and sign off on their skills, according to the head of the paramedics association.
Hood says paramedics can help get more people vaccinated quicker, and this is a barrier for a group of healthcare workers who've already been trained.
"We want the healthcare system performing in what we would call military precision and this bureaucratic step is not keeping with that concept," Hood said.
For its part, New Brunswick Public Health says it’snot concerned about the increase in vaccine delivery.
A spokesperson says, once at full capacity, they expect to vaccinate more than 80,000 people per week.
Public Health is also monitoring reports out of Europe regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine, after blood clots were reported in some recipients. Officials say the batch under investigation was not shipped to Canada.
The pharmacy association says stores are reportingphones "ringing off the hook" with people calling about the vaccine.
The association is repeating: don't call unless you're booking for someone 85 and older.
If you're in that age category and all the doses are booked at one pharmacy, try another.