Front-line police officers added to second phase of N.S. vaccine rollout

By Mark Hodgins

Nova Scotia's health minister is defending the province's decision to move front-line police officers up the vaccination queue. 

Officers were added to “Phase 2” of the vaccine rollout in recent days, despite previous comments from Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang that front-line police work wasn't a significant risk for spreading COVID-19. 

Minister Zach Churchill was asked about the decision after Thursday's cabinet meeting, and said police made a “compelling” case to Public Health.  

“The police officers made a case, and as I understand it — and again, I wasn't in those meetings — but it was around points of contact they have, where there's no control over social distancing with members of the public, there's volatility in terms of who they're interacting with,” Churchill explained. 

The decision comes just weeks after Dr. Strang said no to a request for vaccinations from HRP and Halifax RCMP after some HRP employees tested positive for COVID-19. Strang said those cases were transmitted in office settings, not on the front-lines. 

Churchill couldn't say why no announcement was made publicly about adding officers to the second phase. 

“I mean I believe we've discussed that,” said Churchill. “But maybe that's a question better asked to Dr. Strang.”

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