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1,000,000 doses but also a youth vaccine shortage

Strang says Pfizer shipment delay has young Nova Scotians waiting on a July 25 delivery.


Update: Number of unused AsraZeneca doses was added June 6 following a response from the province.

oung Nova Scotians—who are only eligible to get the Pfizer vaccine under Health Canada guidelines—will not have doses set aside for their age group, despite the current Pfizer supply shortage. Public health head Robert Strang says there are no plans to reserve doses for specific age groups because “this is a short-term issue.”

“It would create a significant disruption and change to our vaccine program to limit it,” he said during Monday’s COVID-19 briefing with premier Iain Rankin (where Rankin talked about drunk driving charges in his past). The province is expecting a delivery of Pfizer around July 25, though Strang did not say how many doses are expected.

The chief medical officer of health said he knows it’s been a challenge to book vaccine appointments for youth between 12 and 17 while Pfizer appointment slots are few and far between. “I want to reassure parents that they're still getting their kids, teens vaccinated well before school,” Strang said. “Initially this age group was anticipated to be vaccinated at the end of September, even into October.”

Sometime soon, Strang said, he expects a Health Canada decision allowing Moderna use for people under 18 years old, which could fix the problem. In the meantime, Strang asked that children and those booking appointments for them be patient, and that adults who can sign up for a Moderna second shot. The top doc said he’s been concerned to hear of people waiting on a preferred vaccine type.

“They believe Pfizer to be a better vaccine; this is incorrect. Pfizer and Moderna are the same type of vaccine and they’re both effective, one is not better,” Strang said of the messenger RNA vaccines.

Of Nova Scotia's 2,000 doses of AstraZeneca from June, about 300 were left unused when they expired June 30, said a department of health spokesperson Tuesday. 
Strang said for the few people who require AstraZeneca over an mRNA option, the province is able to get a specific small number, but otherwise he did not indicate that future orders of AstraZeneca would be coming to Nova Scotia.

While we're talking about a Pfizer shortage on Monday, at the same time the province reached a vaccination milestone: Today the one millionth dose of vaccine was injected into a Nova Scotian arm. Premier Rankin was on hand at the IWK Health Centre’s vax clinic to celebrate shot 1,000,000.

In other COVID news for Monday, the province had only one new case as the active caseload dropped to 45 active cases. Click here for The Coast’s full report on the latest numbers.

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