Nova Scotia announced Friday that almost 56 per cent of people in the province are now fully vaccinated.
Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, told reporters Friday if everyone who is eligible for their second dose moves up their appointment, the province can reach its minimum target of 75 per cent of the population being fully vaccinated earlier, and move to the next phase of reopening by the end of August.
Strang said there are about 69,000 people who had their first dose, but haven’t moved up appointments for second doses.
“We need those people to get vaccinated as soon as they are able,” Strang said at a virtual media availability on Friday.
As the number of people who need vaccination declines, Strang said the province will start to close community clinics.
According to the province, the last day Nova Scotians can receive a COVID-19 vaccine at a community clinic is Aug. 15. After that, COVID-19 vaccines will only be available in participating pharmacy and primary care clinics.
Anyone who currently has a second dose appointment scheduled at a community clinic after Aug. 15 must reschedule their appointment or it will be cancelled.
Possible mRNA vaccine side effect
In a release, the province said an “uncommon event following immunization with mRNA vaccine called myocarditis and pericarditis” has been reported in Canada, including in Nova Scotia.
Myocarditis is the inflammation of the heart muscle and pericarditis is the inflammation of the lining around the heart.
There have been 22 reported cases in Nova Scotia.
“Although most cases required hospitalization, they were relatively mild, and the individuals tended to recover quickly with conservative treatment and rest,” the province said.
Strang said when it comes to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis.
These reactions are primarily experienced in people under 30 years of age within a week of receiving the vaccine. It also appears to be more common in males after the second dose.
Anyone who experiences shortness of breath, chest pain or feelings of a rapid or abnormal heart rhythm after mRNA vaccination is being asked to seek medical attention.
Two new cases
Nova Scotia reported two new cases of COVID-19 and one recovery on Friday.
The cases are in Central Zone. One is related to a close contact of a previously reported case, which Strang said is related to a family cluster.
The other is related to travel and is connected to the Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Halifax.
“We’re seeing no community spread in the province during this time,” said Strang.
So far, Nova Scotia has 12 active cases of COVID-19. There are currently no hospitalizations.
There were 3,517 tests administered between July 16 and 22 at the rapid-testing pop-up sites in Halifax, Dartmouth, Cole Harbour, Bedford and Sydney.
Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 2,821 tests the day before.
As of Thursday, 1,271,948 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. Of those, 541,389 Nova Scotians have received their second dose.
Since April 1, there have been 4,140 positive COVID-19 cases and 27 deaths. There are 4,101 resolved cases.
The province also announced that it is renewing the state of emergency and will take effect at noon, Sunday, July 25, and extend to noon, Sunday, Aug. 8, unless government terminates or extends it.