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APRIL 1: Nova Scotia reports 3 new COVID-19 cases, expands vaccination age limits – TheChronicleHerald.ca

APRIL 1: Nova Scotia reports 3 new COVID-19 cases, expands vaccination age limits – TheChronicleHerald.ca

Nova Scotia has expanded the age eligibility for all three of the vaccines being used in the province.

The age range for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines has been lowered to 70 years and up. Starting April 1, people can book appointments at community clinics and participating pharmacies across the province. The complete list of clinics can be found on the booking site www.novascotia.ca/vaccination. 

And beginning Tuesday, April 6, people aged 55 to 64 will be able to book appointments to receive AstraZeneca vaccine at participating physician and pharmacy clinics. The complete list of clinics will be posted on the booking site on April 6.

You can also book by phone at 1-833-797-7772. Appointments cannot be booked directly through a community clinic, pharmacy or physician. Walk-ins will be turned away.

“There are many opportunities for Nova Scotians to get their vaccine and we’re adding more and more appointments as we get more supply,” Premier Iain Rankin said at a news conference with Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, Thursday in Halifax. 

“There are still appointments available in different locations. . . .  New appointments for the weeks of April 12 and 19 have also been added. And 27 pharmacies will be operating next week with the new shipment of Moderna next week.”

The premier said the rollout hit a landmark of 100,000 administered doses this week.

As of March 31, 106,623 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered. Of those, 28,552 Nova Scotians had received their second dose.

“That’s more than half of Nova Scotians over the age of 80 who’ve now received their vaccine shot and over 85 per cent of health-care workers now have their first shot,” Rankin said. “We’re well on track to meet our target of delivering the first dose to every Nova Scotian  by the end of June.”

More AstraZeneca on the way

The new age range for AstraZeneca falls within that recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization in the wake of rare incidents of brain blood clots in younger people, mostly women, in Europe. The vaccine will only be administered to people over 55. 

“But I want to assure Nova Scotians that if we didn’t think this vaccine was safe, and if Health Canada did not believe it was safe, it would not be part of our vaccine program,” Strang said. 

Thursday marked the last day of the first AstraZeneca rollout of 13,000 doses, which were fully booked. Strang said another shipment of 38,000 doses is expected next week. 

The Chronicle Herald has heard complaints from people who couldn’t get a booking for AstraZeneca despite days of logging onto the online system or calling. 

Asked about this at the briefing, Strang said “the vast majority” of people were able to book their appointment successfully. But he said people who couldn’t get through in the first rollout can try again on April 6.

Three new cases

Nova Scotia reported three new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. 

Of two cases in the central health zone, one is related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada.  The other is a close contact of a previous case. 

A case in the western zone is related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada. 

The number of active cases is now 24, an increase of one case compared to yesterday. 

Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 4,240 Nova Scotia tests on Wednesday and expected to handle another 4,000-plus day on Thursday. 

Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has completed 307,642 tests. There have been 630 positive COVID-19 cases, 605 resolved cases and one death.   

New variant pre-screening

“Our testing sites have been busy and the lab has done well over 4,000 tests in each of the last two days and they already have another 4,000 tests ready to process today (Thursday),” Strang said at the briefing. 

He thanked the people who have been coming out for testing as well as the hard-working staff at the Nova Scotia Health lab. 

Strang said the lab has developed a pre-screening test for variants of the COVID-19 virus, which often cause more severe disease and are more contagious. 

“This test can give an initial sense of whether  a positive specimen is a variant. It can’t identify which variant but it does give us same-day results and then all the positive specimens through the screening test are then sent to the national lab for confirmation of variants and that can take up to one to two weeks.”

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Published at Thu, 01 Apr 2021 20:48:45 +0000

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Written by Riel Roussopoulos

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