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Prince Edward Island says 1,500 front-line workers to be vaccinated by end of day

Click to play video: 'Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination race'
Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination race
Fewer than 10,000 Canadians have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine in the week since it was approved by Health Canada. David Akin looks at the race to get more people inoculated. – Dec 19, 2020

About 1,500 front-line health-care workers in Prince Edward Island will have received the first of two required doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the day Tuesday, the province’s chief medical officer says.

Dr. Heather Morrison said the remainder of the first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be used next week. P.E.I.’s vaccination program began last Wednesday at a Charlottetown hospital after the Island received 1,950 doses.

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Morrison said that in addition to regular shipments of the Pfizer vaccine, the province expects to begin receiving a vaccine by United States biotech company Moderna in the beginning of 2021, once Health Canada approves it.

“There will be vaccine for all Islanders who want to receive it,” she told reporters. “Although it will take months for everyone to be vaccinated, Islanders can be assured their turn will come.”

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Morrison said the plan is to start administering vaccines to residents of long-term care facilities early in the new year.

The Island reported no new cases of novel coronavirus on Tuesday and is currently dealing with just seven active cases.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: One new COVID-19 case reported in PEI as restrictions set to ease'
Coronavirus: One new COVID-19 case reported in PEI as restrictions set to ease

Morrison issued a plea to anyone travelling to P.E.I. over the holiday season to self-isolate, given the high number of cases in other parts of Canada. “For family members who travel to P.E.I. for the holidays, the preferred option is to self-isolate in a separate location for 14 days,” she said.

In situations where people choose to stay with their family, she said, it’s important that everyone in the household agrees to self-isolate for the required two-week period. There are currently 900 households on the Island in self-isolation, Morrison said.

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The province is conducting random checks to ensure Islanders are complying with isolation rules, she said, adding that 55 checks were completed in the past few days. She said 52 households were deemed to be complying with the rules while three others are being investigated.

“It is too early to confirm if anyone will be charged,” Morrison said, adding that authorities planned to increase surveillance of retail businesses and restaurants. The maximum indoor seating capacity for restaurants is 50 patrons.

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Coronavirus: Nova Scotia to expand vaccination program in early 2021

In Nova Scotia, health officials reported seven new COVID-19 cases Tuesday as the number of active cases rose by two, to 40.

Three of the new cases are in the Halifax area and are related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada, while the other four cases are in the northern health zone and are close contacts of previously reported cases. No one is currently in hospital with the disease.

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“COVID-19 is still here and wants us to let our guard down,” Premier Stephen McNeil said in a news release. “We will contain the virus over the holiday season by keeping our gatherings small, wearing a mask and following all of the other public health protocols.”

In Newfoundland and Labrador, health officials reported one new case of COVID-19 Tuesday. The case involves a man between 20 and 39 years old who returned to the province from work in Alberta.

The province now has 29 active infections, with one person in hospital with the disease.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 22, 2020.

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