Vaccination rates fall off in Nova Scotia amid summer vacation season
BADDECK, N.S. -- The summer vacation season seems to have created a slowdown in vaccination bookings, at least in Nova Scotia.
A pharmacy owner in Baddeck says appointments at his vaccination clinic have slowed down to a trickle, but health officials are still confident the province will reach its immunization goals by September.
"People have definitely cancelled more appointments now. In the summertime, it can be tough”, says Graham MacKenzie, a Baddeck pharmacy owner whose store is currently a vaccination clinic.
MacKenzie says for a while, he was seeing anywhere from 60 to 200 appointments a day, but bookings have dropped off in the past week and a half.
"Days that could hold appointments of 120 or more, we might get anywhere from six to twelve appointments”, MacKenzie says.
Tracey Barbrick is head of Nova Scotia's vaccine rollout. She says there are about 100,000 vacant appointments province-wide in the next two weeks.
"The most opportunity within the system is now. There's tonnes of vacant appointments”, Barbrick says.
“What we would like to see is a lot of those second dose people who are eligible, move their appointments up. We'd love to see them do that because we'd love to hit 75 per cent fully vaccinated before September."
Barbrick adds that at 63 per cent,Nova Scotia is leading the country in double-vaccinated residents. Meanwhile, more than 75 per cent have received the first dose.
She said the percentage of people who have been vaccinated is generally consistent across different provincial regions.
"So our first doses are 76 per cent, our second doses are 63 per cent, and about two per cent a day increase in second doses based on appointments”, Barbrick says.
Back in Baddeck, Graham MacKenzie says next week he has a good number of Pfizer appointments that are booked, though there are still plenty of openings.
He predicts the slowdown in bookings in his area will end soon.
"With the 15th of August and onward, most appointments are going to be reschedules. So I think we're going to see a change in this pattern”, MacKenzie says.
On Friday, the Nova Scotia Health Authority announced it is adding three new outreach vaccination clinics next week in communities North of Smokey. They say it's to offer a bit more accessibility to the vaccine.