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In order to enter Phase 5 this month, eligible Nova Scotians need to move up second doses

Dr. Robert Strang said the province currently has the supply on hand to accommodate them all
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Dr. Robert Strang at a COVID-19 briefing on March 16, 2021

The province's chief medical officer of health is calling on eligible Nova Scotians who still haven't moved up their second COVID-19 vaccine doses to do so as soon as possible.

Dr. Robert Strang says around 66 per cent of the total population has had both shots, but the province will not enter Phase 5 of our recovery plan until we reach the target of 75 per cent.

"If everyone who is currently booked for a second dose takes their vaccine, we will have about 76 per cent of the population vaccinated, but the challenge we have is that many of these appointments that people have stretch into the fall," he explained.

"So I need to be blunt," he added. "Whether we have restrictions or not in September is fully in the hands of the Nova Scotians who currently have an appointment booked, but have not yet moved it up into August."

Strang said roughly 35,000 people fall into that category, and the province currently has the supply on hand to accommodate them all.

He added many of those people may have to reschedule their appointments anyway as community vaccination clinics wind down.

"Over the next couple of weeks, these community clinics will close and we will move to pharmacies being the main provider of vaccines," he explained.

Full details of what Phase 5 will entail are still being worked out, but Strang said "most or all of the restrictions, like gathering limits, and mandatory measures, like physical distancing and masking, will be removed."

However, he said the border measures for incoming travellers are likely to remain in place for the time being.

Currently, travellers from outside of Atlantic Canada need to upload proof of vaccination when filling out the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in form

If they haven't had a vaccine, they must self-isolate for 14 days. If they've had one dose they can end the quarantine after a week as long as they've had two negative tests.

"The main COVID risk continues to be importation through people coming to or returning to Nova Scotia," Strang said. "And with the fourth wave of the highly infectious Delta variant happening or starting in other parts of the world and in other parts of Canada, we need to continue to take COVID very seriously, even as we're transitioning from an acute pandemic to living with COVID, or what we can an endemic state."

"It's too early to treat COVID the same as other respiratory viruses, and our best defence against COVID, and the way we can live as openly as possible as we move into this endemic phase, is to have everyone who can get fully vaccinated."

Strang said Nova Scotians continue to come forward to roll up their sleeves and it's not too late to get started. Just yesterday another 1,300 people received their first doses.

And he has a message for those who still haven't had a COVID shot.

"For those who are wondering whether they should get vaccinated, if nothing else, you need to know that the world will be smaller for those who are not vaccinated, as performances, cruises, travel and many other sectors are starting to require full vaccination for participants."


Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
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