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COVID-19 vaccine clinics underway Wednesday in three of four Atlantic provinces

Nova Scotia received its first allotment of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 15, 2020. The first immunization clinic starts Wednesday, Dec. 16. Communications Nova Scotia - HO

A registered nurse has become the first person in Nova Scotia to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Provincial health officials said Danielle Sheaves, a nurse who works in a COVID unit in a Halifax-area hospital, was the first recipient of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Wednesday.

The first shots were destined for 350 front-line health workers in Halifax and will be administered at a clinic close to the Dalhousie University campus, where the province’s first shipment of the vaccine is being stored.

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“It was very uneventful,” chuckled emergency department nurse Haley Avery in an interview about five minutes after she received her shot. The 38-year-old, nine-year nursing veteran said she was “excited and grateful” she was able to get vaccinated.

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“There is certainly an element of trying to set a good example,” Avery said. “I think it’s fantastic that there are so many health-care workers who with very little thought, have stepped up to get the immunization because they know it is the right thing to do.”

Another vaccine recipient, Dr. Stephen Miller, an emergency department doctor and an associate dean at Dalhousie’s faculty of medicine, said his morning drive to work felt a little different. “The last nine months have been a little doom and gloom,” Miller said. “Everything took on a bit of a different light today, it was kind of exciting.”

READ MORE: Nova Scotia hopes to immunize 70 per cent of residents, provides rollout plan

Miller, 53, said the clinic had an atmosphere that was somewhat “joyous,” with people chatting and laughing as they awaited their turn for a shot. “It’s really is amazing when you think about it, how quickly they have worked to develop this vaccine safely,” he said.

Miller said he is “confident and comfortable” getting vaccinated and said he believes the public should too. “It was a painless shot and I so far have felt excellent.”

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Click to play video 'Nova Scotians share their thoughts on the COVID-19 vaccine' Nova Scotians share their thoughts on the COVID-19 vaccine
Nova Scotians share their thoughts on the COVID-19 vaccine – Dec 15, 2020

Vaccination clinics were scheduled in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador on Wednesday, while New Brunswick has said it would wait until the weekend to begin inoculating citizens. Each province has received a first shipment of 1,950 doses.

A front-line health-care worker from the long-term care sector is expected to be the first Islander to receive a vaccine shot in a clinic at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 16, 2020.