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Coronavirus: Nova Scotia long-term care homes still waiting for vaccine rollout plan

Click to play video 'No details yet on Moderna vaccine distribution in Nova Scotia' No details yet on Moderna vaccine distribution in Nova Scotia
WATCH: Long-term care homes still waiting for a vaccine rollout plan – Jan 4, 2021

Several Nova Scotia long-term care homes that were canvassed Monday in the central region said there’s still no clear timeline as to when its staff and residents will receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Just before Christmas, the Moderna vaccine was approved for use by Health Canada and Nova Scotia confirmed they received its first shipment of that vaccine last week, but it’s still not clear if any Nova Scotians have actually gotten the shot.

The province confirmed the vaccination program was put in a holiday hiatus and no vaccinations were administered between Dec. 24 and 28, followed by another shutdown between Dec. 31 and Jan. 6.

Read more: Explaining why the Maritimes provinces are leaving the Moderna vaccine to chill

Nova Scotia PC leader Tim Houston said pausing the vaccination program didn’t make sense during a pandemic.

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“COVID didn’t take a break,” said Houston. “And so the processes, the steps to combat COVID and the vaccinations they play a key part in that, and so they shouldn’t take a break, there is no reason for that.”

During the last provincial COVID-19 briefing, Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang said the shipments of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will begin regular weekly shipments in the New Year.

To help administer the vaccine across the province, four more cold storage sites were set up at hospitals including the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, Colchester East Hants Health Centre, Valley Regional Hospital and Yarmouth Regional hospital.

Spokesperson for the N.S. Department of Health Marla MacInnis told Global News that to date, 2720 doses of vaccine have been administered, all of which were Pzifer.

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“We received 3,700 doses of Moderna vaccine on Dec. 30th and we are working to transport the vaccine to their intended vaccination clinics while maintaining the -20 C requirement,” MacInnis said in a Monday night email.

More details will be provided on Tuesday, she said.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Experts call for quick roll-out as COVID-19 vaccines sit in freezers' Coronavirus: Experts call for quick roll-out as COVID-19 vaccines sit in freezers
Coronavirus: Experts call for quick roll-out as COVID-19 vaccines sit in freezers – Dec 31, 2020

Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang will hold Nova Scotia’s first COVID-19 press briefing for 2021 on Tuesday by teleconference at 3 p.m.

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Long-term care home staff and residents have been prioritized to receive vaccines early on, as part of the initial phase of the province’s immunization plan, but several LTC homes in the central region have yet to receive any details.

“Would I like to know more? Sure. Do I understand why perhaps I don’t? I absolutely do,” said Susan Hayes, CEO of the Windsor Elms Village long-term care homes located in Falmouth, N.S.

“From a project management perspective this is big, but I trust the process.”

Houston says the province under Premier McNeil’s leadership has used the COVID-19 pandemic to hold back information on several files and he urges the province to be forthright and transparent — especially when it comes to the vaccine rollout plan.

“Put a website up,” said Houston. “With how many doses the province received and how many were administered and make that cumulative. That’s easy and that should be a starting point and a minimum I’d say.”

Houston says Nova Scotians have listened to the advice and recommendations from the province and have done their part and believes we can continue to lead by example and be a model on how to successfully roll out the vaccine.

“We’ve been the example for many other provinces and jurisdictions in how to keep the cases low,” said Houston. “Let’s make sure we remain on the cutting edge and keep getting it done.”

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Read more: Canada approves Moderna coronavirus vaccine, 1st doses to arrive in ‘coming days’

Anthony Taylor CEO with the Oakwood Terrace Nursing home in Dartmouth, NS said he’s expecting to hear more details about the vaccination plan soon.

“The vaccination process for long-term care is controlled by Public Health NS,” he said. “I know of no more details around the vaccination process for staff at the home than what I have read in the media; I wish I knew more.”

Hayes and Taylor both trust the provincial government will deliver a sound plan, it’s just a matter of time said Hayes, she believes the vaccine rollout will gain momentum in January.

“We anticipate that probably later this month, we will have access to vaccines for our staff,” said Hayes. “Communication has been good but this is a big project. I think the current epidemiology in the province has allowed them to take the time and plan the roll out properly.”

As of Jan. 4, Nova Scotia has 27 active cases of COVID-19 which includes six new cases announced on Monday.