Nova Scotia, New Brunswick to expand vaccine delivery in pharmacies
HALIFAX -- While there are some similarities when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine rollout plans, how Canadians will get their vaccine varies depending on which province you reside in.
In the Maritimes, both New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are offering the shot to those with complex medical conditions in the second phase of their rollout.
That’s not the case in Nova Scotia, however, where Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang, says the province’s goal is to immunize as many people as they can in the shortest time possible.
"If we start to divert and do different medical conditions or different types of occupations, what that does is substantially slow down our ability to build population immunity,” said Strang at a COVID update on Friday afternoon.
Nova Scotia’s approach is upsetting to Matthew MacDonald and his family. The 28-year-old lives with Marfan Syndrome and as a result, has COPD and congestive heart failure.
"Just like the elderly, we are at a higher risk of severe complications or death,” said MacDonald, from his home in Sydney Mines, N.S.
"When you're being told by the leaders of your province and your leader of your health care that you know what, it's too much work to take care of you, it's too much work, that's insanity,” said Beth MacDonald Harbin, Matthew’s mother.
In April and May, New Brunswick’s immunization plan includes large employers. For the most part, Nova Scotia’s vaccine plan is primarily aged-based.
As the pandemic lingers on, the CEO of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Patrick Sullivan, is encouraging companies to embrace testing for their employees and would like to see the province rollout vaccine more quickly to essential and rotational workers.
"We do know that the majority of cases are travel related. How could we ensure that we are monitoring folks that are travelling for work, the faster that we can get them vaccinated, the faster everyone will be safer,” said Sullivan.
As of Sunday, 48,077 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. Of those, 16,113 Nova Scotians have received their second dose.
Starting Wednesday, pharmacies across New Brunswick will start delivering the shots to those 85 and older.
Nova Scotia launched its first two pharmacy-based clinics last week. Two more clinics will launch later this month before the program expands even more.
"So it's incremental growth over the next few weeks until late in April when we will have about 290 delivering vaccine,” said Allison Bodnar, CEO of the Nova Scotia Pharmacy Association.