Select groups eligible for third doses of a COVID-19 vaccine next week in Nova Scotia
Third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will soon be available in Nova Scotia, but not everyone will be eligible.
Only those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, or those who need to travel for work, will be able to get an additional shot.
Cole Harbour resident David Harrison will soon be able to book his third dose appointment.
"I hope to get on the list and get one as soon as possible,” said Harrison.
"People who are immunocompromised often need an additional dose of a vaccine to bring them to a similar level to people who have a strong immune system," Dr. Joanne Langley with the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology.
"And that's already the case for a number of vaccines in the Maritimes and in Canada, like the pneumonia vaccine, for example, you would get three doses instead of two as a baby in that first year of life."
It’s the news Harrison was waiting for.
"I have Crohn’s Disease so I take two immunosuppressant drugs that were included in the list that they released yesterday," said Harrison.
Those 12 and older who qualify will be able to book a third dose online or by phone, 28 days after they have completed their primary vaccine series.
"There's a diagnosis criteria associated with a medication. When folks book their vaccine they should expect to take the proof of that, whether it's their prescription bottles or whether it’s a doctor certificate, to let them know that they are qualified for that," said Health Minister Michelle Thompson.
Third doses of vaccine will also be available to people who need to travel for work so they can meet entry requirements or avoid isolation in a country that does not recognize mixed doses.
To become eligible for a third dose for work-related travel, people must:
- be a Nova Scotia resident
- provide an official copy of proof of vaccination for each of the two doses received
- provide written confirmation from their employer that they are required to travel to a country as part of their job and that country does not accept a mixed-vaccine series
- provide official confirmation or documentation from the country or location of travel that a mixed-vaccine series does not permit entry or requires isolation upon entry.
Work-related third doses cannot be booked online or by phone. Applicants must send the required information by email.
At this time, there are no plans to offer a third dose of vaccine to Nova Scotians who received mixed doses but do not need to travel for work.
"We have to look at this in a global perspective and we need to be very careful about what additional doses of vaccine we use, rather than somewhere else in the world," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health.
"For non-essential travel, we're saying be patient, the federal government is working to clarify this and get acceptance of the mixed schedule by other countries and that is coming."
As for Harrison, he is encouraging everyone to get vaccinated.
"If you get vaccinated, you can just help people like myself and other people that are dealing with illnesses so that we don't have to deal with that as well," he said.