HALIFAX -- The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines is set to arrive in the Maritimes this week.

While we know each Maritime province is getting 1,950 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the first shipment, there are differences in how they will be distributed in each province.


Nova Scotia is expecting its first delivery Tuesday.

The province has a team, which includes the Department of Health and Wellness and Public Health, working with the Canadian Armed Forces on the rollout of the vaccine.

When the first shipment arrives, priority will be given to healthcare workers most directly involved in the COVID-19 response in the province’s Central Zone. This applies to healthcare workers who work in:

  • COVID-19 care units
  • Regional care units
  • Intensive care units that care for COVID-19 patients

The Nova Scotia government says immunizations will be focused in the Central Zone in December because the Pfizer vaccine cannot be moved around the province due to its strict storage, handling and transportation requirements.

The first shipments of the Moderna vaccine are also scheduled to arrive in December. Nova Scotia is set to receive a total of 150,000 doses, in small, weekly allotments. That is set to start this week, and into early 2021.

In the first three months of 2021, when more doses are available, Nova Scotia plans to expand its priority list to the following, based on guidelines from the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI):

  • Long-term care home residents and staff
  • Seniors who live in the community, starting with those over the age of 80, then over 75, then over 70
  • Healthcare workers directly involved in patient care

As supply increases, the province says it will work to immunize those at higher risk for severe disease due to underlying health conditions or socio-economic factors.


New Brunswick’s first COVID-19 vaccine doses arrived on Monday. The vaccine will be delivered to the Miramichi Regional Hospital by Tuesday morning.

The first doses are set to be administered on Saturday and Sunday. Anyone who gets a shot on that day will get a second dose on Jan. 9 and Jan. 10, 2021.

The province plans to offer vaccinations in a three-stage system:


Stage one involves both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Priority will be given to the following groups:

  • Long-term care residents and staff
  • Healthcare workers with direct patient contact
  • Adults in First nations communities
  • "Older New Brunswickers" (The province did not specify which ages)


The New Brunswick government says this stage will include the introduction of other vaccines besides Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. It will also include an expanded priority list:

  • Residents and staff of “communal settings” (the province defines this as homeless shelters, correctional centres etc.)
  • Other healthcare workers, including pharmacists
  • First responders and “critical infrastructure workers” (the province defines this as those who work in power, water and sewer, etc.)

The government of New Brunswick says it expects supply to be limited until mid-to-late summer, but once supply permits, the general public will be given the opportunity to be vaccinated.


Under stage three, the New Brunswick government says it expects the vaccine to be more widely available, and plans to release more information about how select groups can register to receive the vaccine.


Like the other Maritime provinces, P.E.I. is scheduled to receive 1,950 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week, and the Moderna vaccine later this month.

P.E.I. will start administering the vaccine on Wednesday.

In consultation with the NACI, P.E.I. will prioritize the following groups for COVID-19 vaccination:

  • Residents and staff at long-term care and continuing care homes
  • Adults age 70 and older (starting with adults 80 and older)
  • Health-care workers (including personal support workers)
  • Adults in Indigenous communities