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Second doses of vaccine coming quickly says Strang

Supply surge means Nova Scotians can get fully vaccinated with two doses weeks early.

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Nova Scotians can get their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine much sooner than planned, with extended clinic hours and an unexpected shipment of Moderna vaccines due to arrive from the federal government before the end of June. Chief medical officer of health Robert Strang said second doses will be hitting arms four to six weeks earlier than scheduled, with more than 400,000 vaccines set to arrive—245,000 of them the surprise supply of Moderna—in the next month.

“It’s that amount… which allows us to move up the timeframe for people getting a second dose of vaccine,” Strang said during Tuesday’s COVID-19 briefing.

The province announced that dosing intervals will be shortened to 28 days for AstraZeneca and 35 days for either mRNA vaccine, be it Pfizer or Moderna. Strang said the increased second dose availability has put a strain on the province’s booking website recently, and he asked those who haven’t yet received an email about booking the second dose to stay off the site. He did not say when those emails will be going out.

To date 61.4 percent of all Nova Scotians have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, and 9.96 percent are fully immunized with both doses. Strang said he expects that in the “near future” 70 percent of Nova Scotians over 65, and therefore most vulnerable to the disease, will have both shots.

Uptake of the vaccine is good province-wide, Strang said, with 80 percent of those over 30 scheduled to be vaccinated and 70 percent of the 12-to-17-year-old cohort ready for their shots. Strang added vaccine uptake is also particularly high in Halifax.

Vaccine uptake is a bit lower in the 18-to-30 age category, with 60 percent of the age cohort scheduled for a shot. Strang said at this stage, men in that age group are less likely to schedule a vaccine, so he’s trying a new way to target them.

“We’re going to start working with large employers, like Michelin, around immunizing in the workplace. Many of them (working there) are that exact age demographic… younger males,” he said.

As of Monday, June 21, clinics around the province have injected 790,514 doses of vaccine into arms. Of those, 96,781 Nova Scotians are fully immunized with both doses. About 14,000 doses were delivered Monday, and of those about 12,000 were second doses.

After trailing the national rankings for several months, Nova Scotia is now on top, with over 71 percent of the population having at least one dose administered, compared to the 66 percent Canadian average.

Note: The above interactive graphic of vaccination rates across the country uses data that the federal government publishes once a week, and may not reflect current rankings.

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