The last batch of eligible Nova Scotians have now been given the green light to book their first COVID-19 vaccine shot.
Eighteen-year-old Evan Colclough is an eager member of the 12-and-up age group who is now booked in to receive his Pfizer vaccine.
“I felt nothing but relief. It was just so exciting to log on to book that appointment.”
Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved for use in children aged 12 and up. The Moderna vaccine is only available for those 18 and older.
However, that’s expected to change at some point with the Moderna manufacturer in the process of having their approval age lowered.
Bodnar says there is no timeline for when Health Canada may approve the lower age for Moderna but that won’t impact Nova Scotia’s immunization targets.
The targets have sped up significantly in the past week with Nova Scotia pharmacists helping to lead the charge.
“Early on, we made a decision here that would make all vaccines available in pharmacy.”
“We’ve really been able to contribute in ways that some other provinces haven’t been able to,” Bodnar said.
She adds that while many provinces across Canada are leaning on pharmacists to help support their immunization strategy, Nova Scotia leads the country in terms of overall pharmacist participation.
“We should be really proud of that and congratulate our teams for stepping up and being such a huge part of the solution and allowing Nova Scotians to get immunized faster,” Bodnar said.
Outside of health care providers, Nova Scotia’s immunization strategy is done based on age. An approach that will continue into the second dose strategy but at a much faster rate than originally forecasted by the provincial immunization team.
“For example, someone who received the first dose of vaccine on March 22 would be due for the second dose 105 days later, on July 5,” said a news release from the province. “That person will be able to reschedule the second appointment for as early as the week of June 20,” Dr. Robert Strang said, during a Tuesday immunization update briefing.
Bodnar says Nova Scotia’s early decision to delay the timeframe for second doses in an effort to have more people receive their first dose at a faster rate, is paying off.
“As we’re seeing now, everyone who wants a first vaccine has been able to do so in a much shorter period of time. So, there is some level of immunity much faster than there would have been,” she said.
The immune response that experts say comes with first doses is starting to play a crucial role in restrictions being lifted across Canada.
Prince Edward Island has just announced that Atlantic Canadians with at least one vaccine dose will be permitted to enter the province on June 27.
While P.E.I.’s top doctor Dr. Heather Morrison says that date may change if necessary, it speaks to the role vaccination rates are playing in moving Canadians out of the pandemic.
“This is our ticket out of the pandemic, this is our ticket out of no more restrictions,” Colclough said, of vaccination rates continuing to rise both in Canada and around the world.