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Data experts eye weekend for New Brunswick’s COVID-19 vaccination goal

A registered nurse administers a vaccination to a young boy in Mount Vernon, Ohio on May 17, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ AP, Paul Vernon

New Brunswickers are still waiting for the province to hit its 75 per cent first-dose COVID-19 vaccination goal to start reopening.

The self-assigned deadline for that was Monday and, as of Wednesday, the province is still 2.8 percentage points shy.

According to experts, though, that goal might have been too ambitious from the start.

“It’s within the laws of physics that they could have met that, but it was always a very challenging goal,” says Kevin Wilson, a Halifax-based epidemiologist.

Read more: COVID-19 — New Brunswick border town residents ready for U.S. travel to return

Wilson’s spent the better part of the past 15 months tracking all kinds of COVID-19-related data on Twitter.

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He says it was apparent weeks before Monday’s deadline that the province wasn’t getting enough shots out.

“It was going to be a Christmas miracle,” he says.

Read more: COVID-19 — N.B. announces 13 new cases as outbreak declared at apartment complex

Even still, Wilson says the province’s progress has pretty much been on par with the rest of the country, with the deadline and COVID-19 fatigue making things seem worse to residents.

“My running joke is that your province, whichever province that is, is probably doing fine,” says Wilson.

Fredericton-based data analyst Ray Harris has also been tracking the data and he’s on the same page.

“We’re third in the country in terms of first doses per population behind Quebec and British Columbia,” he says.

“I get that we set a goal and didn’t get that goal but it was an ambitious goal and we’re still doing really well.”

Click to play video: 'New Brunswickers urged to get COVID-19 shot ahead of reopening' New Brunswickers urged to get COVID-19 shot ahead of reopening
New Brunswickers urged to get COVID-19 shot ahead of reopening – Jun 2, 2021

Both say they expect the province to see that 75 per cent in the next few days.

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Harris estimates that will happen Friday or Saturday.

Wilson says Sunday or Monday.

Either way, it sounds like this weekend will bring good news for New Brunswickers, with thousands of doses still being doled out daily.

“It’s not like we’re at 1,000 doses a day when we should have 6,000. We’re at 6,000 when we wish we had 9,000,” says Harris.

“We’re not scraping the bottom of the ice cream bucket yet.”

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