N.B. ‘Drive to 75’ per cent vaccination rate approaches target date

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick’s vaccination goal in jeopardy' New Brunswick’s vaccination goal in jeopardy
New Brunswickers continue to roll up their sleeves as the province inches closer to the launch of its path to green. But the first milestone on that path is already in jeopardy. Tim Roszell has more. – Jun 4, 2021

New Brunswick residents continue to roll up their sleeves as the province inches closer to the launch of of its Path to Green reopening plan.

But the first milestone on that path is already in jeopardy.

Phase 1 of the Path to Green kicks in when 75 per cent of eligible New Brunswick residents receive at least one dose of vaccine.

At that time, isolation and testing requirements for cross-border commuters and people entering New Brunswick from Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador or the Témiscouata, Quebec, region will be lifted. Compassionate travel will be allowed between those regions with testing.

READ MORE: N.B. to allow in everyone from Atlantic Canada except N.S. starting June 7

The provincial government set a target of June 7 at 11:59 p.m. to reach the goal, but as of Friday, the number sat at only 67.4 per cent.

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“Yesterday was very optimistic,” said Premier Blaine Higgs, moments after receiving his second vaccine dose courtesy of Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell. “Because we’ve been going along around 1 per cent a day and it was up to 2 per cent. And that’s what we need for the next four days. So, we can do this.”

“I just know that the capacity is there for us to reach our target by midnight on Monday,” Russell said. “We just need people to come forward with their arms.”

People outside a vaccination clinic in at Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John expressed their desires to make plans they haven’t been able to make for months.

“I’d love to go to a concert,” said David Murray. “I’m not sure if there’s any scheduled in the near future, but hopefully by the fall.”

“I have family that lives in Ontario and I haven’t seen them in a very long time,” said Sarah Wiseman. “And I would really like to see my parents.”

“I want to say theatre because I would have done the musical this year, but I would be graduated,” said soon-to-be high school graduate Jeremy Rodden. “I’m not sure, maybe travel, for sure.”

READ MORE: New Brunswick extends travel rebate program to all of Atlantic Canada this summer

The Path to Green has two more phases set to take effect on Canada Day, July 1, and New Brunswick Day, August 2nd. The New Brunswick Day target would see the province reach green phase and all remaining COVID-19 restrictions will be removed. Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said this week the other targets don’t have to change even if Monday’s 75 per cent goal is missed.

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In its daily COVID-19 news release, the province said it will need to vaccinate more than 50,000 people to reach the June 7 goal.

However, one of the largest clinics in New Brunswick, based out of Moncton Coliseum, was closed Friday.

Global News reached out to the Department of Health and Vitalité Health Network, but neither responded to a request for comment.



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