No clear plan for rollout of COVID-19 vaccine in the Maritimes because of uncertainty of supply
HALIFAX -- From Britain comes news the world has been waiting for.
The UK is now the first country to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine.
In Canada, the same vaccine and three others are under review and a call could come soon.
"There’s speculation it’ll be within the next week or so in the U.S. and it’s very likely that Canada will be there as well," said Dr. Scott Halperin of the Canadian Centre For Vaccinology in Halifax. "They all received the data around the same time."
Even if approved by Ottawa, how many vaccines will be sent to the Maritimes -- and who will be immunized first —- is still unclear.
"We are expecting to receive small amounts of the vaccine initially likely within the next month," Dr. Heather Morrison, Prince Edward Island's chief medical officer of health, said Tuesday.
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said last Friday that "in the weeks ahead we’ll be working to understand who gets the vaccine first within the national guidance framework."
More specific plans have been laid out by other provinces.
Ontario has said it expects to get 2.4 million doses by March. The premier of British Columbia is optimistic his province will have access to vaccines in the new year.
"There’s a lot of anxiety around the vaccine," said Tim Houston, the leader of the opposition in Nova Scotia. "When will it be available? Who will get it? So these types of questions I’m hearing from Nova Scotians and certainly I share these questions."
While decisions around logistics and the rollout lies with the province, Halperin believes most provinces will follow the recommendations made by a national advisory committee on immunization.
"Our older population and for our health-care providers and health-care providers providing care to individuals and for other emergency type workers who are in that situation," Halperin said.