Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health says until they can establish a stable supply of COVID-19 vaccine they will continue to hold back the second doses.
Dr. Robert Strang was commenting on news that the manufacturer of the two-dose vaccine Pfizer has said it will reduce the amount of vaccine being shipped to Canada.
That will allow Pfizer to temporary close one of their facilities in Belgium in order to expand production to meet demand.
Premier Stephen McNeil says the province has set up their vaccine schedule to protect against these kind of interruptions.
“We are continuing to give the first shot and hold back the second shot to guarantee people a full vaccination,” said McNeil. “We will continue to do this until we are guaranteed there will be no interruption in supply.”
The province has been allocated 140,000 doses of vaccine for the first 90 days of the year, 13,000 of which have already been received and administered or have been designated to be administered.
First in line in Nova Scotia are frontline healthcare workers and nursing home residents. The second phase will see the vaccine enter the general population starting with the most elderly.
“We’re hopeful to be able to, not January but maybe February or March, to pilot a couple of clinics, one in Halifax, one in Truro,” said Dr. Strang.
He calls the COVID-19 vaccination program the most complex ever rolled out in Nova Scotia.
The province announced two new COVID-19 cases today. Since the start of the second wave in October there have been 461 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia. Four hundred twenty-nine are resolved and there are currently 32 active cases, none of which require hospitalization.
The low case numbers indicate the public health measures have been working according to Dr. Strang.
He is concerned some people have not been completely forthcoming when contacted by public health officials. He and the premier assured Nova Scotians their information is kept confidential and it can help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Dr. Strang says he is pleased to see the majority of people are following protocols to keep each other safe and he had a message for those who don’t.
“I would ask any Nova Scotians who think that public health measures don’t apply to them, to think again and to stop. And think about the rest of the province, the rest of Nova Scotians and the sacrifices that so many of us have made.”
Dr. Strang was blunt when asked when he expected life to return to normal.
“That’s a million dollar question,” said Dr. Strang. “Public health people like myself, experts on the virus, I think we’re all on the same page that most of 2021, we need to continue to be following COVID restrictions and COVID protocols.”
Dr. Strang says officials need time to get vaccine out and get enough people vaccinated to create herd immunity. The also need to learn if the vaccine will keep people from spreading the virus even if they don’t show any symptoms.
He expects it will be six to nine months before we’ll begin to know how a post-COVID world will look.
Reported by Ed Halverson
To listen to the broadcast of this story, press play below.