HALIFAX -- Anyone in New Brunswick who received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before May 1 can now book an appointment for their second dose.

"As the number of fully vaccinated New Brunswickers increases and as travel restrictions and border measures are eased, we expect there will be more COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick," said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health. "This is why it’s important for all New Brunswickers who are able to get their second dose to do so once they are eligible. Those who are not vaccinated will be at highest risk for having severe symptoms and hospitalization."

To get their second dose, New Brunswickers are asked to bring a signed consent form, their Medicare card, and a copy of the record of immunization provided after receiving their first dose. If possible, residents are asked to book an appointment at the same pharmacy or clinic at which they received their first dose.

You can book an appointment through a participating pharmacy or at a Vitalité or Horizon health network clinic.

Anyone 12 and older who has not received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine is also eligible to book an appointment.

"If you received Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech, you can book an appointment for either vaccine for your second dose," Public Health wrote in a news release. "They work the same way and have similar levels of safety and effectiveness."

PROVINCE CONFIRMS FOUR NEW CASES

Public Health reported four new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.

Three of the cases are in Zone 3 (Fredericton region) and the other case is in Zone 6 (Bathurst region). All four cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases.

This raises the number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 2,309 since the pandemic began. One person recovered since Wednesday, so the number of active cases rises slightly to 61. Six people are in hospital in New Brunswick, including two in an intensive care unit.

There have been 45 deaths in New Brunswick since the pandemic began.

On Wednesday, Public Health conducted 1,171 tests to raise the overall total to 354,805.

PHASE 2 ON THE PATH TO GREEN

The provincial government's second phase on the path toward the Green level of the COVID-19 reopening plan went into effect on Wednesday at midnight.

Dr. Jeff Steeves is the president of the New Brunswick Medical Society. He says, while the pandemic is hitting a new stage, it is still a pandemic.

"Seventy-five per cent of us are vaccinated, we're transitioning this more into a cold," said Steeves. "It won't disappear. We will probably have COVID infections but we'll be keeping people out of the hospital from being long haulers, from becoming very ill and reducing their risk passing it on."

Public health says it is confident the healthcare system can handle the expectation that new cases will pop up.

"However, none of us wants to be part of those new cases and we will expect new cases under these opening up guidelines, so it's really important to continue to do the same things we've been doing, wearing a mask, washing our hands, staying six feet apart," said Barbara Mackinnon with the New Brunswick Lung Association.

Full details about the province’s path to Green are available online.