Nova Scotia’s top doctor ‘concerned’ over COVID-19 complacency

Click to play video: 'Dr. Robert Strang warns about COVID-19 complacency in N.S.'
Dr. Robert Strang warns about COVID-19 complacency in N.S.
WATCH: Nova Scotia has announced more COVID-19 vaccine booster doses will soon be available to children, and the rest of the population soon after. This comes as the province’s chief medical officer of health says the population is becoming too complacent about the virus. Callum Smith has the details – Aug 26, 2022

Nova Scotia’s top doctor Robert Strang says more doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be made available in the early fall as the province finds itself in the middle of the seventh wave.

Strang said in a Friday virtual media briefing that epidemiology suggests this wave is on the decline.

Mostly due to vaccination, our levels of hospitalization during this week have been well below those experienced in the spring, and our cumulative mortality rate remains below the national average,” Strang said.

However, Nova Scotia isn’t in the clear.

“We still have a lot of COVID around as the summer ends,” the chief medical officer said.

“I am concerned that over the past few months we have collectively become too complacent and unconcerned about COVID.”

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In the latest weekly COVID-19 report, released Thursday for the seven-day period from Aug. 16 to Aug. 22, Nova Scotia reported eight more deaths, 34 new hospital admissions and 1,360 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19.

COVID is still a significant issue that requires our collective attention and action, and those actions are based on each Nova Scotian thinking about our collective well-being,” Strang said.

The first step, he said, is keeping up with COVID-19 vaccination.

More doses coming in September

The province announced Friday morning that it will be opening up more vaccine appointments to children and adults next month.

As of Sept. 6, children between the ages of five and 11 will be eligible for their first booster shot of the Pfizer pediatric vaccine.

Those who have not received their full primary series, the first two doses, are “are encouraged to do so as soon as possible,” the province said. To date, just over 50 per cent of children in this age group have received the two doses.

“If any families need support in making the decision around vaccination, I encourage them to talk to their primary care provider, their local pharmacist, or visit the IWK’s website, where there are a lot of vaccine resources for you and families,” Strang said in the briefing.

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Strang also gave a shoutout to pharmacists who took additional training in the past months to be able to administer the vaccine to young children.

As of Sept. 19, the province will also open up more appointments for those aged 12 and up, for both booster shots and completing the primary series.

“If you’ve had no or only one dose of COVID vaccine, then I urge you to finish your primary series as soon as possible before people go to book their appointments,” Strang said.

Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recently updated its recommendation for intervals between shots in adults. It now recommends 168 days since their last dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or from a COVID-19 infection before getting another dose. The recommendation for individuals over the age of 70 and immunocompromised people is 120 days.

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Strang said this information will be available on Nova Scotia’s vaccine booking site. He said the fall rollout will be a big task for the province.

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The top doctor also said public health continues to recommend wearing facemasks in public spaces. it also continues to recommend staying at home when feeling unwell, and using rapid or PCR testing.

He said there were COVID-19 cases in his family just weeks ago, “and it’s not a pleasant disease at all.”

Though there are no mandates, Strang reiterated that people are encouraged to follow this guidelines to protect themselves and their community.

“The mass majority of people aren’t at risk of severe disease,” Strang said. “But it’s still a nasty, nasty disease.”



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