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Nova Scotia set to deliver 2nd doses of COVID-19 vaccine ‘well ahead of schedule’

Click to play video: 'Nova Scotians could get their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine sooner than expected' Nova Scotians could get their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine sooner than expected
WATCH: Nova Scotia’s premier just got his first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. With a dose of Pfizer fresh in his arm, he fielded questions on vaccine rollout and a possible reopening plan. Alexa MacLean has the details – May 24, 2021

Nova Scotians may be able to get their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine sooner than expected.

Currently, appointments for the second dose of the vaccine are booked 105 days after the first dose.

But speaking with reporters shortly after he got his first Pfizer vaccine dose on Monday, Rankin said the province is looking to move things up.

“The age-based approach will continue, but based on our volumes and how well we’re doing, we’ll actually be able to do it in advance of when normally [it’s] scheduled,” he said, adding that more information will be available Tuesday.

“But it looks like we’ll be well ahead of schedule for second doses for everyone.”

Read more: ‘A good sign’: Nova Scotia reports 49 new COVID-19 cases, lowest number in a month

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Rankin expects everyone will have their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine by mid-June, and they plan to open up second doses of the vaccine for healthcare workers and people in older age groups by late June.

Currently, Nova Scotians aged 25 or older can now book an appointment to get their first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

“Feels great,” said Rankin of getting his first dose. “I’m feeling good. I didn’t even really feel the shot.”

What about AstraZeneca?

After Nova Scotia suspended its use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, those who already received their first shot were left wondering what will happen with their second.

Read more: N.S. pausing use of AstraZeneca vaccine, reporting 149 new COVID-19 cases

While there has been some discussion of giving a different type of shot for the second dose, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recently recommended that people get the same vaccine for their second dose as they did for their first.

Rankin said the province still has 2,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that won’t expire until the end of June. He said they were waiting on study that is expected to come out early next month before making any decisions.

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Click to play video: 'NACI recommends same vaccine for second dose' NACI recommends same vaccine for second dose
NACI recommends same vaccine for second dose – May 23, 2021

He said those first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were given with “informed consent.”

“Everyone that took that vaccine was aware of the risks, but I continue to say the first vaccine that you’re able to get is the right one,” he said.

“All those that took that vaccine did the right thing and they’re keeping their communities safe and they’re limiting spread within Nova Scotia.”

Reopening plan

Rankin also said the province is working on a reopening plan that’s slated to be released later on in the week.

Nova Scotia has been in shutdown since the end of April, when case counts began to skyrocket, and will remain in shutdown until at least the second week of June.

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Read more: COVID-19: Nova Scotia extends shutdown until 2nd week of June

It’s still too early to suggest reopening dates, but Rankin said it will be a “phased approach.”

“What we do is we close down quickly and we cautiously open back up,” he said. “We need to have flexibility within that, so public health can continue to monitor our epidemiology.”

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