Update on Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan

Nova Scotia is building a strategic, flexible immunization plan with over a million doses of COVID-19 vaccine – enough for more than 500,000 people – expected to arrive in the province over the next six months.

New vaccination clinics will start in several parts of Nova Scotia this month:

  • Cape Breton Regional Hospital and Valley Regional Hospital will each receive 1,950 doses this week, with clinics starting Jan. 11
  • Colchester East Hants Health Centre will receive 2,925 doses the week of Jan. 11, with a clinic starting Jan. 18
  • vaccinations at three long-term care facilities in Central Zone – Northwood (Halifax campus), Shannex (Parkstone) and Oceanview – will also begin this month

“We all want to see Nova Scotians getting shots in their arms as quickly as possible,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “We have a long road ahead of us before everyone who wants the vaccine can receive it. I ask Nova Scotians for their patience as our health system works as quickly as possible to distribute the vaccine.”

About 140,000 doses are expected by the end of March in the first phase of a three-phase immunization plan, and another million doses are expected to be delivered between April and June.

Phase 1 of the COVID-19 immunization plan runs from January to April and includes:

  • a continued focus on immunizing front-line health-care workers who are closely involved in the COVID-19 response. It is expected they will all receive at least their first of two required doses by the end of January
  • all staff, designated caregivers and residents in long-term care residential care residents and staff
  • seniors living in the community who are 80 or older, followed by anyone 75-79
  • health-care workers such as physicians, paramedics and home-care workers whose work involves direct contact with patients

Phase 2 is expected to begin in May and will include remaining health-care workers and essential workers.

Phase 3 will begin in summer and include all Nova Scotians who are not part of the Phase 1 and 2 priority groups.

“We expect to receive small allotments of vaccine through the first few months of 2021, which will be distributed to cold storage sites and clinics across the province,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “How, when and where the vaccine rolls out in communities across the province may look different from region to region. Our focus in Phase 1 is to immunize the highest priority groups and develop different vaccine delivery models ahead of receiving larger amounts of vaccine in Phase 2.”

Vaccine will be delivered to cold storage sites across the province on a rotating basis as it becomes available. During Phase 1, steps will also be taken to develop community and provider-based clinics delivered by physicians and pharmacists, in preparation for later phases.

In December, provinces received initial doses to test the delivery, distribution, and administration of the vaccine. The focus was on COVID-response health-care workers in Central Zone because of the handling and storage requirements of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine.

Quick Facts:
– in December, Nova Scotia received a combined 9,550 doses of Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine: 2,720 doses were administered, 2,720 reserved for second dose and 3,700 Moderna doses reserved for long-term care
– about 86,000 Nova Scotians 75 years of age and older are eligible to receive the vaccine during Phase 1
– Nova Scotia is expected to receive a combined 140,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine by the end of March, enough to immunize 75,000 people