Update on Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan

The Covid Chronicle

**** HEALTH/WELLNESS Media Release

Update on Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan
The first community-based clinic for Nova Scotians age 80 and older will begin later this month as Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout continue to expand.

Age will become the primary factor in who gets immunized and when in the general population. After those 80 and older receive their vaccine, the next group will be people 75- to 79-years-old. Vaccinations will continue in declining five-year age blocks until all Nova Scotians receive their vaccine.

“The greatest risk factor for COVID-19 patients is their age,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “As vaccine supply increases, we are preparing to launch community clinics across the province to immunize as many people as quickly as possible, starting with those at greatest risk – our older Nova Scotians.”

The first community-based clinic for Nova Scotians 80 and older will begin Monday, Feb. 22 in Halifax. This prototype clinic will inform how future clinics are set up. Those eligible to participate in the clinic will be identified by MSI and contacted directly by mail to schedule their appointments.

Nine more community-based clinics in Halifax Regional Municipality, Truro, Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Kentville, Yarmouth, Antigonish, Amherst and Bridgewater are planned in March for those 80 and older.

“Some Nova Scotians will continue to receive their vaccine through targeted health-care worker clinics or in long-term care, but we know that overall the greatest risk is age,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “An age-based approach is also the fastest and simplest way to get vaccine into arms. We are ready to ramp up our immunization efforts as more vaccine enters our province.”

Pharmacists and physicians who want to administer the vaccine at COVID-19 vaccine clinics will soon have that opportunity. Prototype clinics in pharmacies will launch in early March, with plans to expand to more locations by early April.

The following groups will continue to be prioritized in Phase 1:
— those who work directly with patients in hospital or patients in their home
— those who live and work in long-term care homes and their designated caregivers
— those who live and work in Department of Community Services facilities like adult residential care centres, regional rehabilitation centres and residential care facilities

The province is engaging with First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities during Phase 1 to understand the needs of the communities.

The following groups will continue to be prioritized in Phase 2:
— anyone who works in a hospital and may come into contact with patients
— doctors and nurses who work in the community
— dentists and dental hygienists
— pharmacists and pharmacy technicians
— those who live in large group settings and those who work directly with them, including correctional facilities, shelters and temporary foreign workers’ quarters
— those who are required to regularly travel in and out of the province for work, such as truck drivers and rotational workers. This does not apply to people who live in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick and cross the border every day for work
— those who are responsible for food security and cannot maintain public health protocols due to the nature of their work, including those in food processing plants

All other Nova Scotians, regardless of profession or health condition, will receive the vaccine based on their age.

Quick Facts:
— there are 10 cold storage sites across the province that can receive any type of COVID-19 vaccine
— Nova Scotia will use five models of delivery to immunize Nova Scotians: health-care worker clinics, long-term care clinics, community clinics, provider clinics and outreach to vulnerable populations

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