N.S. offering unvaccinated health staff a one-dose Janssen COVID-19 shot

Click to play video: 'N.S. offering healthcare workers one-dose Janssen COVID-19 vaccine'
N.S. offering healthcare workers one-dose Janssen COVID-19 vaccine
WATCH: The province is offering healthcare workers the opportunity to receive the one dose Janssen COVID-19 vaccine as the N.S. vaccine mandate comes into effect Tuesday. Jesse Thomas has more – Nov 29, 2021

In a move to increase vaccine uptake, the province is offering all health-care workers the opportunity to receive Johnson & Johnson‘s single-dose Janssen  COVID-19 vaccine.

This is only for health-care workers who refuse to get the mRNA vaccine.

The announcement comes a day before Nova Scotia’s vaccine mandate comes into effect. As of Nov. 30, all employees in key public sectors like health must be vaccinated or face unpaid leave.

“I really can’t predict whether people will make this change or not, and they are prepared to go on unpaid leave or resign,” said Menna MacIsaac, CEO of Grand View Manor in Berwick, N.S.

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MacIsaac said the vaccine mandate led to an urgent staffing shortage at the manor where they’re 25 employees short.

“I would say that two-thirds of the people who have left since October are people who do not want to be vaccinated and the others who have left are because they are working longer hours to fill the gaps of the people who have left,” she said.

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The long-term care sector has long been impacted by staffing shortages, but the pandemic has only exacerbated the recruitment and retention issues, said MacIsaac.

The home needs immediate staffing support, whether that includes mobile nursing teams coming to support or even tapping the military for help.

Click to play video: 'N.S. workers could be placed on unpaid leave based on vaccination status'
N.S. workers could be placed on unpaid leave based on vaccination status

“We need people who can come in and do actual caregiving and evening shifts and things of that nature need to be filled as soon as possible,” said MacIsaac.

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In a release sent to long-term care facilities, Shelley Jones, project executive of continuing care, said the province is being provided with a small and limited supply of the viral vector vaccine.

“Nova Scotia is offering it to health-care workers working in high-risk settings, as this group is recognized as a priority group for vaccine,” Jones said.

The one-dose Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is being delivered to select pharmacies across the province, which the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia said won’t create an additional burden on their operations.

“It’s not a big group and so we have facilitated some locations around the province and people who have raised this issue with their employer have been directed to where this vaccine is located,” said Allison Bodnar, CEO of the association.

Minister of Seniors and Long-term Care Barbara Adams declined an interview request but a department spokesperson said more information will come Tuesday.

At last check, 95 per cent of long-term care employees were fully vaccinated with five per cent yet to report their status.


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