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Nova Scotia’s long-term care vaccine rollout on track despite supply chain uncertainties

Click to play video 'N.S. long-term care home COVID-19 vaccine plan on track despite shipment delays' N.S. long-term care home COVID-19 vaccine plan on track despite shipment delays
Long-term care vaccine rollout on track despite supply chain uncertainties – Feb 22, 2021

The goal of vaccinating all long-term care staff and residents by the end of March has always been the target and despite some vaccine supply chain uncertainties, the province appears on track to meet that goal.

Moderna shipments were cut by almost half last week as the federal government sent 2,900 doses destined for Nova Scotia to Canada’s northern territories but the Department of Health and Wellness said all future Moderna shipments will be delivered in full.

Health Canada confirmed that the doses reallocated to the northern communities we part of a plan to accelerate the vaccination programs in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Read more: Canada to receive over 640,000 vaccine doses from Pfizer, Moderna this week

They say those doses will not be lost for provinces like Nova Scotia but will instead be accounted for with an increased shipment at the end of March, and all doses allocated and agreed upon will be delivered.

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That’s good news for long-term care homes, as Nova Scotia exclusively uses the Moderna vaccine to inoculate residents.

“We’re really pleased with the rollout or the uptake that we are seeing right across the province,” said Michele Lowe, managing director of the Nursing Homes of Nova Scotia Association. “We have vaccination rollouts for residents in most of the nursing homes across the province at some level, either the first or the second round.”

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Health Canada said that by the end of March, all allocation of the Moderna will be delivered as agreed upon initially to provinces like Nova Scotia.

Click to play video 'Nova Scotia expands access to COVID-19 vaccine in 1st community clinic' Nova Scotia expands access to COVID-19 vaccine in 1st community clinic
Nova Scotia expands access to COVID-19 vaccine in 1st community clinic – Feb 22, 2021

The long-term care vaccination rollout began in the central zone with the majority of homes there having already received their first round of shots, with several second doses being administered already.

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On Monday afternoon, the second doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived at the Windsor Elms village long-term care home, CEO Susan Hayes said, with the shots going into arms on Thursday.

“We had our staff here in house, who did our residents and gave them their vaccinations and we had help from our local pharmacist who did the clinic for our designated caregivers,” said Hayes.

There are 130 long-term care homes across the province and thousands of staff who work inside the care homes, who need to be vaccinated as well.

Lowe says they are seeing very little hesitancy by staff when it comes to getting the shot.

“For staff, in a typical flu campaign, you might see the highest be around 65 per cent (compliance) for the typical seasonal flu campaign in the fall,” said Lowe. “But what we are seeing with the COVID response, is we are seeing upwards of 85 per cent compliance among staff.

Read more: Nova Scotia expands access to COVID-19 vaccine in 1st community clinic

Getting the vaccine into arms has helped raise the spirits for staff and residents, Hayes said, and with the second doses arriving this week, it’s created a sense of enthusiasm inside the long-term care home.

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“There’s a buzz,” said Hayes. “And that has continued as the staff has received their first vaccines, there’s this sense of hope.”

The Department of Health and Wellness declined an interview but said a vaccine update will be provided later this week.

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