Four more COVID-19 vaccine storage sites will be set up across the province this week as Nova Scotia prepares to expand its vaccination program early in the new year.
The cold storage sites will be at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, Colchester East Hants Health Centre, Valley Regional Hospital and Yarmouth Regional Hospital. They will be able to store any COVID-19 vaccine at the appropriate temperature.
“The rollout of vaccine across Nova Scotia will take time,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “I ask everyone for their patience as our public health teams and health system partners continue their hard work over the holidays to expand access.”
Nova Scotia’s immunization plan takes a phased approach, following the National Advisory Committee on Immunization guidance on COVID-19 vaccine. Front-line health-care workers and long-term care staff in Central Zone are receiving the vaccine at a clinic in Halifax this month. So far, 1463 people have received their first shot of vaccine.
Vaccine will arrive to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital and Valley Regional Hospital cold storage sites the week of Jan. 4. Each site will receive 1,950 doses. Details about immunization clinics are still in the planning stage.
“As we move into the new year we will see more vaccine arrive in our province and we will make sure that those who need it most during phase one of our rollout, receive it first,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “We are now working on how we move that vaccine across the province and who will get it next, once it’s in place.”
The only vaccine currently approved by Health Canada is made by Pfizer-BioNtech. Nova Scotia also expects to start receiving vaccine made by Moderna later this month. The Moderna vaccine still needs Health Canada approval before it can be administered.
An 11-member vaccine expert panel with representation from the Department of Health and Wellness, Nova Scotia Health Authority, IWK Health Centre and the Canadian Center for Vaccinology has also been established to monitor the use of vaccine in Nova Scotia and advise the chief medical officer of health.
Co-chaired by Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed, deputy chief medical officer of health and Dr. Shelly McNeil, senior medical director of COVID Planning and Implementation at the Nova Scotia Health Authority, the panel includes experts in infectious diseases, immunology, vaccinology, vaccine safety, allergy and public health.
Panel members include:
- Dr. Lisa Barrett, clinician scientist and viral immunologist, Nova Scotia Health Authority
- Dr. Maureen Carew, medical officer of health, long-term care and COVID-19 response, Department of Health and Wellness
- Dr. Jeannette Comeau, paediatric infectious disease physician, IWK Health Centre
- Dr. Scott Halperin, paediatric infectious disease physician, IWK Health Centre
- Dr. Lynn Johnston, adult infectious diseases physician, Nova Scotia Health Authority
- Dr. Gina Lacuesta, allergy and clinical immunology physician, Nova Scotia Health Authority
- Dr. Joanne Langley, paediatric infectious diseases physician, IWK Health Centre
- Dr. Noni MacDonald, paediatric infectious diseases physician, IWK Health Centre
- Dr. Karina Top, paediatric infectious diseases physician, IWK Health Centre
- Nova Scotia will receive another shipment of 3,900 doses Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine this week
Coronavirus symptoms, testing and vaccine information: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/symptoms-and-testing/