New Brunswick is just two weeks away from its Aug. 2 target date for lifting all remaining COVID-19-related restrictions.
While the province’s top doctor is confident of meeting the deadline, a Fredericton-based data analyst believes the numbers do not add up.
The third and final phase of the government’s “Path to Green” is reached when 75 per cent of eligible residents have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and would remove any outstanding restrictions.
As of Sunday, 58.1 per cent of the population was considered fully vaccinated.
New Brunswick Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell is encouraging residents to keep that New Brunswick Day target circled on their calendars.
“And then if everybody’s doing what they have been doing so far in terms of rolling up their sleeves, I think we’re going to get there,” Russell said. “If something happens and it looks like we’re not, then public health will sit down with government and we’ll have some discussions.”
Early weekend numbers did not help much in getting New Brunswick closer to the target. Public Health reported 1,233 second doses were administered along with only 227 first doses.
Data analyst Ray Harris of Data Wazo said he’s concerned the vaccination rate in the province is slowing, affecting the timeline for reaching 75 per cent.
“If you take the slowdown we had for the first doses and replicate that for the second doses,” Harris began. “If you take that pace that we really were — it was a slog toward the end — and you push that to our date now, we’re getting around August 7th, August 8th (to reach 75 per cent).”
Russell believes Saturday’s figures may have been under-reported due to a lag in filing numbers on the weekend.
She said vaccine supply is not an issue as another 64,000 doses are arriving this week and 76,000 are expected during the week of July 26. Public health has also scheduled nine different mobile clinics beginning Monday.
“We just need arms,” Russell said. “As many people who can push that message, who can encourage, nudge, support, provide transportation, help somebody make an appointment. You know, we’ve been rowing together in the same direction for many, many months now. We really need to keep up that tempo and get us to that finish line.”
Harris said New Brunswick could hit its target in two weeks, but he said 10,000-12,000 vaccinations per day would be needed.
New Brunswick reported one new case of COVID-19 on Sunday.
There are now nine active cases in the province.