Nova Scotia has released its estimates of when each age group will get a COVID-19 vaccine, and if vaccine deliveries arrive as scheduled, the province says it is on track to offer first doses to those 16 and up by early- to mid-June.
A graph from the Department of Health shows that, beginning on March 29 with those aged 75 to 79, vaccine eligibility will be opened to each five-year age bracket in descending order, approximately one week apart.
The pace is expected to ramp up slightly by the time those under 40 become eligible, in mid-May. The five-year cohorts continue until those aged 16 to 19 become eligible in the second week of June.
The estimates are based on the federal government’s expected vaccine deliveries, but the province says vaccine supply is still unpredictable, and fluctuations are common.
The projected vaccine delivery dates are for first doses only; residents will be able to book their second dose at the same time as they book their first dose. It will be administered four months later.
“I’m pleased with the progress we’re making in Nova Scotia,” Premier Iain Rankin said Tuesday. “Like you, I wish I could snap my fingers and have everyone vaccinated already. But a program of this size and complexity requires some build time.”
Nova Scotia reported one new case on Tuesday. It is in the eastern zone and is related to travel. The province has 21 active cases, and no one is in the hospital with the virus.
Vaccine supply to ramp up
The number of vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia is expected to increase by about four-fold in the period of April to June, compared with January to March.
In December, 9,550 doses were delivered. In January, that number rose to 19,300, in February it was 33,130 and in March it was 138,270. Next month, 182,100 doses are anticipated, in May 203,440 and in June 415,910.
By mid-May, the province expects to be able to administer 86,000 shots per week, with all clinics running at full capacity.
So far, 119,110 doses have been delivered, with 60,660 having been used already, 21,856 being held back for second doses and 36,594 slated for use this week.
Nova Scotia hit a record number of vaccinations last week, administering 11,470 doses.
‘We are building a strong foundation’
“Our plan is based on getting good at rolling out vaccine and then getting fast as our vaccine supply increases,” said Dr. Robert Strang, the chief medical officer of health. “We are building a strong foundation so that we’re ready to go.”
Phase 1 of the vaccine rollout, which has seen health-care workers, those who live in group settings such as long-term care homes, and residents who are 80 or older, is on track to be finished by the end of April, the province said.
Those who are at increased risk, including Indigenous and African Nova Scotians, as well as shelter residents and staff, are also part of Phase 1. The province said work is being done in those communities to identify participants.
Strang said based on polling, 70 to 80 per cent of Nova Scotians who are eligible for the vaccine say they plan to get it.
The vaccination timeline released on Tuesday is based on 90 per cent uptake — “which is very optimistic, but I’d love us to be there,” Strang said.
If uptake is less than that, vaccines will be offered to the descending age groups even faster than expected.