Coronavirus (COVID-19): vaccine

Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 immunization plan and vaccine rollout to help protect us against COVID-19. The plan includes 3 phases. Each phase identifies when different groups can receive the vaccine.

Vaccines help protect you from viruses and bacteria that cause illnesses. They also protect everyone around you. The more people in a community who are vaccinated and protected from COVID-19, the harder it is for the virus to spread. COVID-19 vaccines must be approved for use by Health Canada.

COVID-19 immunization plan

Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 immunization plan includes 3 phases. Each phase identifies when different groups can receive the vaccine. The plan is flexible to allow for increases or decreases in vaccine supply. Every person in Nova Scotia who wants the COVID-19 vaccine will receive it for free. Learn more: map of COVID-19 vaccination clinics.  

Vaccine considerations

Each vaccine has different rules on how you can move and store the vaccine. Nova Scotia's COVID-19 immunization plan looks at:

  • when and where the vaccine supply is delivered and moved within the province
  • specialized equipment needed to move and store the vaccine
  • what COVID-19 activity looks like in the province
  • National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) guidance on the use of the vaccine
  • guidance from the vaccine manufacturer on how each vaccine can be used
  • recommendations on who should receive the vaccine
  • who can receive the vaccine based on age

Learn more: recommendation on the use of COVID-19 vaccine (National Advisory Committee on Immunization).

Approved vaccines

Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty, Moderna Spikevax and AstraZeneca Vaxzevria are approved for use in Canada as 2-dose COVID-19 vaccines. Janssen/Johnson & Johnson is approved for use in Canada as 1-dose COVID-19 vaccine. Right now, only Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna are approved for use in Nova Scotia.

AstraZeneca is no longer available in Nova Scotia. Anyone who has an allergy to any ingredient in an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine should consult their healthcare provider.

Each vaccine has different recommendations on who can receive it and different levels of efficacy.

Vaccine interchangeability

Nova Scotians have options when it comes to receiving their second dose.

Anyone who received a first dose of Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna or AstraZeneca can receive a second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna.

Getting the vaccine

When you can book an appointment is based on your age. Most Nova Scotians will receive their vaccine by age group (groups are in 5-year increments). Vaccination clinics are open throughout the province.

Community-based vaccination clinics are physically accessible. People who own their own wheelchairs or walkers should bring them. Wheelchairs are available on site for those who need them. Community clinics also have clearly marked directional signage for people with low vision and printed materials for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

If you need support during your appointment, provide details when you book the appointment to help remove any barriers when you visit the vaccination clinic.

People with significant health-related challenges who are not able to leave their homes to get the COVID-19 vaccine may be eligible to receive the vaccine at home. You need to call 211 to complete the screening process to confirm your eligibility. Once your eligibility is confirmed, it should take 2 to 3 weeks for the Continuing Care team to follow-up with you to schedule your appointment.

Interpretation services are available when booking an appointment by phone or if your appointment is at a community vaccination clinic or pharmacy vaccination clinic.

Other than age, considerations for when you can receive the vaccine include:

  • recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization
  • who is at the highest risk based on the epidemiology in Nova Scotia
  • vaccine supply

Some Nova Scotians may not be able to receive the vaccine because of age or health condition. As more information about the vaccine becomes available, information about who can receive the vaccine may change. You should consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have any concerns about receiving the vaccine. Learn more: who should and shouldn’t get the vaccine.

Non-residents

If you’re not a permanent resident of Nova Scotia (you don’t have a Nova Scotia Health Card), you can still receive the vaccine while you’re in Nova Scotia. Learn more: if you don’t have a Nova Scotia Health Card.

Fully vaccinated

In Nova Scotia, you're considered fully vaccinated 14 days after you have any 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine or 2 doses of a combination of COVID-19 vaccines accepted by the Government of Canada, 1 dose of Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine or a complete series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the World Health Organization.

Anyone who has 1 or 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine that's not approved by Health Canada and the World Health Organization can book an appointment to get 2 doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated in Nova Scotia.

Optimal vaccine protection

People who have 2 doses of Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna or AstraZeneca or 2 doses of a combination of Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca are considered optimally protected.

Anyone with 1 or 2 doses of any other COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the World Health Organization or the 1-dose Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine can book an appointment to get 1 dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna vaccine to help provide optimal protection.

Anyone who has 3 doses of any COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t need an additional vaccine dose for optimal protection. They can’t book an appointment for an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Second dose rescheduling

Anyone with a second dose appointment in September 2021 or later who is eligible to move their appointment to an earlier date (at least 28 days after their first dose) should reschedule their appointment so they’re immunized as quickly as possible. You can reschedule your appointment by using the rescheduling email you receive from noreply@canimmunize.ca or by calling 1-833-797-7772 (Monday to Friday, 7am to 7pm). You need to call from a Canadian phone number and be in Canada when you call.

Proof of vaccination

If you get a COVID-19 vaccine in Nova Scotia, your Nova Scotia COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination includes the date, time, location, type, brand and lot number of COVID-19 vaccine you received. Within the province, you can use your Nova Scotia COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination to show proof of vaccination.

Your Nova Scotia COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination isn’t a vaccine passport. Before travelling outside Nova Scotia, you need to check with the jurisdiction you’re travelling to about what documentation they accept as proof of vaccination.

Get your Nova Scotia COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination

If you provide an email when you book your vaccination appointment, you receive a digital copy of your Nova Scotia COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination by email (email is sent from noreply@canimmunize.ca).

If you don’t provide an email when you book your vaccination appointment or you didn’t receive a digital copy of your Nova Scotia COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination by email, call 1-833-797-7772 (Monday to Friday, 7am to 7pm) to provide an email or request a copy of your proof of vaccination. You need to call from a Canadian phone number and be in Canada when you call.

You can also get your Nova Scotia COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination online. Make sure you have your Health Card and the email address or phone number you used to book your vaccination appointment.

Update your proof of vaccination

If your Nova Scotia COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination has an error or missing information, call 1-833-797-7772 (Monday to Friday, 7am to 7pm) to report an issue with your proof of vaccination. You can also call to report an issue if you can’t get your Nova Scotia COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination online using your Canadian Health Card number and the email address or phone number you used to book your vaccination appointment.

When you call to report an issue with your proof of vaccination, you may need to provide your:

  • name
  • date of birth
  • email address or phone number you used to book your appointment
  • Health Card number
  • type, date and location of COVID-19 vaccine you received (for each dose)

After you report an issue, it should take 2 weeks to get a new digital copy of your Nova Scotia COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination. It can take longer if more information is needed.

Out-of-province vaccines

As part of the Proof of Full Vaccination Policy, Nova Scotia residents who receive 1 or 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in another province, territory or country will be able to have their out-of-province vaccinations included on their Nova Scotia COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination. More details will be available before the policy is in effect.

Vaccine data

Find information on the COVID-19 data dashboard about vaccine doses received and administered. Data includes total doses and second doses, vaccine supply (received and administered), vaccine uptake by age group and cases by vaccination status.