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Nova Scotia advises of 'uncommon event' following mRNA vaccination

'The benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis,' said Dr. Robert Strang
022421 - covid vaccine - pfizer
A nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine to be administered today, Feb. 24, at the first clinic in a First Nation community in Nova Scotia

NEWS RELEASE
COVID-19/HEALTH/WELLNESS
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Nova Scotia's vaccination efforts are on track with almost 56 per cent of people in the province fully vaccinated.

"Our collective efforts throughout the pandemic to follow restrictions and get tested have helped to limit COVID-19 activity in the province, but we can't stop here," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health. "We now need everyone who can to get two doses of vaccine as soon as possible to add another and stronger layer of protection against the virus and its variants."

If everyone who is eligible for their second dose moves up their appointment, the province will reach its minimum target of 75 per cent of the population fully vaccinated, and move to the next phase of reopening by the end of August. 

The province is advising Nova Scotians about an uncommon event following immunization with mRNA vaccine called myocarditis and pericarditis, which has been reported in Canada, including in Nova Scotia.

There have been 22 reported cases in Nova Scotia. Although most cases required hospitalization, they were relatively mild, and the individuals tended to recover quickly with conservative treatment and rest.

"It is important for Nova Scotians to understand both the benefits and potential risks associated with any vaccine in order to make an informed decision about vaccination," said Dr. Strang. "When it comes to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis."

These reactions are primarily experienced in people under 30 years of age within a week of receiving the vaccine. It also appears to be more common in males after the second dose.

Anyone who experiences shortness of breath, chest pain or feelings of a rapid or abnormal heart rhythm after mRNA vaccination should seek medical attention.

The province will soon turn its attention to living with COVID-19 and that means adjusting how vaccines are delivered and removing restrictions and mandatory public health measures over the next several weeks and months.

The last day Nova Scotians can receive a COVID-19 vaccine at a community clinic is Aug. 15. After that, COVID-19 vaccines will only be available in participating pharmacy and primary care clinics. Anyone who currently has a second dose appointment scheduled at a community clinic after Aug. 15 must reschedule their appointment or it will be cancelled.

Quick Facts:
-- as of today, July 23, 200,000 people have a vaccine appointment booked
-- about 69,000 people have been invited to move their vaccine appointments up but have not done so, leaving many vacant appointments across the province
-- about 75 per cent of people in Nova Scotia have received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine
-- about 450,000 doses were administered between June 20 and July 16, which represents about 52 per cent of people eligible to receive a vaccine
-- myocarditis is the inflammation of the heart muscle and pericarditis is the inflammation of the lining around the heart

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