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N.B. making ‘tremendous progress’ with COVID-19 vaccinations: Russell

Click to play video: 'N.B. makes COVID-19 rapid testing kits available to some businesses' N.B. makes COVID-19 rapid testing kits available to some businesses
The New Brunswick government is now making a COVID-19 rapid testing kits available to small and medium-sized businesses. Tim Roszell reports – Jul 6, 2021

New Brunswickers are continuing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in droves, with the province reporting that 43.5 per cent of people aged 12 and older are now fully vaccinated.

As well, nearly 79 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health.

In a news conference Wednesday, Russell said the province is moving closer to the third and final phase of its so-called “Path to Green.” In order to reach that phase, 75 per cent of all eligible residents must be fully vaccinated.

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick’s COVID-19 single dose rate stalled' New Brunswick’s COVID-19 single dose rate stalled
New Brunswick’s COVID-19 single dose rate stalled – Jul 7, 2021

Read more: When could New Brunswick remove all COVID-19 restrictions?

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Russell said 14,783 New Brunswickers received a shot on Tuesday alone.

“Every day, thousands of New Brunswickers are rolling up their sleeves to move us closer to this goal,” she said. “We are making tremendous progress, and I am more optimistic than ever that our objective can and will be achieved.”

Vaccine appointments can be made through a participating pharmacy or at a Vitalité or Horizon health network clinic. People can book their second shots if at least 28 days have passed since their first dose.

Read more: N.B. chambers of commerce to distribute COVID-19 rapid tests to businesses

 

As well, Russell said there are a number of walk-in mobile vaccine clinics popping up for those who have yet to receive their first or second dose:

  • Saint Andrews Town Hall parking lot, 212 Water St., Saint Andrews, on Thursday, July 8, between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
  • Bowlarama, 2020 St. Peter Ave., Bathurst, on Thursday, July 8 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Fundy Arena, 6 Arena St., Blacks Harbour, on Friday, July 9 between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Bowlarama, 476 Gauvin Rd., Dieppe, on Saturday, July 10 between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

People are asked to bring their Medicare card, a record of vaccination if receiving their second dose and a signed consent form.

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The mobile clinics will offer the Moderna vaccine, which can be used interchangeably with the Pfizer vaccine for those aged 18 and older.

Phase 3 ‘very likely’ in August

Health Minister Dorothy Shephard, who was also at Wednesday’s briefing, thanked New Brunswickers for getting vaccinated.

She said there’s “lots of availability and no shortages” of vaccine for those who haven’t had both of their shots yet.

“If our vaccination rates continue to rise at the current rate, it is very likely that we’ll be able to move to Phase 3 on New Brunswick day, on August 2,” she said.

“Regardless on what that date is when we get there, once we reach 75 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers vaccinated with two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, we will lift the mandatory order and lift all restrictions, including the requirement to wear masks.”

Click to play video: 'N.B. makes COVID-19 rapid testing kits available to some businesses' N.B. makes COVID-19 rapid testing kits available to some businesses
N.B. makes COVID-19 rapid testing kits available to some businesses – Jul 6, 2021

Shephard said it will be up to businesses to decide if they want to return to pre-pandemic operations or if they want to do so gradually.

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She also said that the Department of Social Development is working with Public Health to develop guidelines for long-term care homes once the province reaches the green level.

The eased restrictions associated with the green level will go into effect two weeks later in long-term care homes, she said.

No new cases

New Brunswick is reporting no new cases of COVID-19.

Dr. Russell said there are now 10 active cases, the lowest number since last October. Two people are in hospital, with neither in ICU.

In the month of June, the province confirmed 121 cases of COVID-19. Of those, five were fully vaccinated. No fully-vaccinated New Brunswicker was admitted to hospital and none died.

“Vaccines are making a difference. By becoming vaccinated, you are making a difference. And while we continue to see new cases, we expect that fewer of these will lead to fewer illness, hospitalization and death,” said Russell.

“Vaccination is the surest and straightest path to a new normal.”

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