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How to reschedule your second COVID-19 vaccine dose in Nova Scotia

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On Tuesday, May 25, Nova Scotia announced a plan to speed up getting second doses into arms, thanks to the fact the province has more vaccine supply than it anticipated back in April when it set the 105-day interval between doses. Here are two graphs from the province, showing the old and the new plans.

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Nova Scotians can get their second shot sooner than expected. COMMUNICATIONS NOVA SCOTIA
  • Nova Scotians can get their second shot sooner than expected. COMMUNICATIONS NOVA SCOTIA

This means Nova Scotia should reach population or herd immunity in early September, not late October like originally projected. There are still many unknowns—the number of appointments will depend on vaccine supply, how many people rebook, how many people are still booking their first dose—but there is a lot that we do know.

Here are 12 second-dose questions, asked and answered:

How much will my appointment move?
This depends on your age group. Those who got vaccinated in March and April have already waited a few months, and their appointments can be moved up by about two weeks, from late July to early July, for example. Younger people or those who have yet to have a first dose may see their appointment move four or more weeks, such as from early September to early August.


How will I know when it’s my turn?
The government will be sending out emails to people who have a second dose booked for certain date ranges. It will largely mirror the age-based approach and healthcare worker prioritization of the first wave. If you didn’t include an email address with your vaccine booking, you can call 1-833-797-7772 to add one to your file.


What if I don’t want to move my appointment?
You don’t have to, you can keep the same one you have right now if it works best for you based on travel plans, your work schedule or other life commitments.


What if I had to drive to another community for my first dose?
You are able to rebook in that same community and make the trek again, or you can rebook in a community closer to home. There is no requirement to book at the same location you received your first dose.


What if I got my first dose in another province?
You will be able to receive your second dose based on when you received the first one, and must apply by emailing adminins@novascotia.ca. Find more information here.


What if I don’t have a second appointment currently scheduled?
This is the case for many people who rescheduled. Tracey Barbrick, Nova Scotia’s deputy minister of health, says those people are “caught in the overlap as we get the system all ready for the second-dose bookings.” Doctor Barbick says people will receive an email when their eligibility opens up, and the interval for second dose eligibility will eventually be set at 28 days.


If I got Pfizer can I get Moderna, and vice versa?
Yes, Health Canada has already deemed that the two mRNA vaccines are effectively interchangeable.


What if I got AstraZenenca?
Hold tight. Public health is still waiting on research studies to come out of the UK to see whether you can give informed consent to receive a second dose of AZ, finish up with one dose of an mRNA vaccine or need to start over with an entire round (two doses) of an mRNA vaccine.

The information is expected by early June, while the 2,500 doses currently in the province expire June 30, and second-dose appointments for AZ recipients are set to begin in early July.


What if I can’t leave my house or have mobility issues?
The province will be piloting a mobile vaccine program for people who are home-bound, beginning with about 1,000 people in the next few weeks. The province is also continuing to expand drive-thru clinics after the success of the first one in Dartmouth.


What if I still haven’t gotten my first dose?
You can still book your appointment any time online, so long as your age cohort has opened up.


When will we reach herd immunity?
If most people do move up their doses, as public health predicts they will, then Nova Scotia will reach population or herd immunity in early September, not late October like originally projected.


What if I’m unsure or still have questions?
Click here for more information on vaccine rollout in Nova Scotia, and here for more information on vaccine safety in Canada.

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