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Nova Scotia to cut back community vaccination clinics, COVID updates

The province is taking steps towards its final phase of 'living during COVID-19' by cutting back on community vaccination clinics and regular Public Health updates
Halifax Convention Centre Clinic
Halifax Convention Centre COVID-19 vaccination clinic

As Nova Scotia steps towards its final reopening phase of "living during COVID-19," the province is cutting back on some of the systems that have been in place over the course of the pandemic.

On Friday, the province announced it would be closing community vaccination clinics with the last day set for Aug. 15.

Anyone who has an appointment booked for after that date must reschedule or their appointment will be cancelled.

After that date, vaccines will only be available at participating pharmacies and primary care clinics.

"They (community clinics) were good for a time-limited purpose of immunizing large numbers of people quickly," Strang said during a virtual media availability on Friday. "Now we can have more targeted, focused opportunities but still making sure we have very good access across the province."

Pharmacies across Nova Scotia received the ability to administer COVID-19 vaccines earlier this year and have been helping the province meet its vaccination goals.

Even though community clinics close next month, Strang said he doesn't think this will create accessibility issues or deter people from getting vaccinated.

"We have pharmacies in almost every community across the province," Strang said. "The pharmacies, I know, are working to make sure ... that there is a pharmacy that's available within reasonable hours, seven days a week in communities across the province."

If vaccination rates in the province need a boost, Public Health will focus on specific workplaces and use its Mobile Units to administer vaccines.

"We are making progress," he said. "We're not considering incentives. What we are doing is making sure that we have strong information and social media messaging, and making sure we have innovative and creative ways to have very easy access to the vaccine."

The province is also cutting back on the regular COVID-19 updates it has been providing since the start of the pandemic.

Over the weekend, Nova Scotia will no longer provide COVID-19 news releases or update its online data dashboard. That data will be included in the update sent on Mondays.

On top of that, Strang said at Friday's media availability that there are currently no formal COVID-19 briefings planned for the future.

However, he said that could change if a new provincial government is elected or if there's a change in the province's COVID situation. In the latter case, he said he'll be available for virtual media briefings when necessary.

Instead of the province's regular COVID-19 briefings, Strang said Public Health will continue communicating with Nova Scotians through its COVID-19 website and its social media accounts.

"We've been thinking for a few weeks that as our epidemiology stabilized and we have robustly implemented our vaccine program that we needed to move away from the regular briefings," he says.

"We'll do a weekly media release moving forward."

Those plans fall in line with what other provinces are doing as more Canadians get vaccinated.

The country's COVID-19 vaccination tracker shows more than 80 per cent of Canadians over the age of 12 have received at least one vaccine dose; that number is just over 62 per cent for people who are fully vaccinated.

According to Nova Scotia's COVID-19 dashboard, 75.2 per cent of the province's population has received at least one vaccine dose as of July 23; the portion of the population that's fully vaccinated is 55.7 per cent.

On Friday, Nova Scotia announced 12 active COVID-19 cases.


Chris Stoodley

About the Author: Chris Stoodley

Chris was born and raised in Halifax. After graduating from the journalism program at King's, he started as CityNews Halifax's weekend editor.
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