HALIFAX — Nova Scotia residents aged 63 and 64 will be first in line next week to receive the recently approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
Health officials said Tuesday 13,000 doses of the vaccine will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis in 25 locations across the province starting March 20. Canada's national vaccine expert panel recommends against the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for people over the age of 65.
Chief medical officer Dr. Robert Strang told reporters the province will be sticking to an age-based model for its vaccine plan, which isn't the case everywhere in Canada. In Ontario for example, officials recently said people with high-risk chronic conditions will be among those getting access to the vaccine during the province's second phase.
"The more we divert away from an age-based approach … it actually slows down our overall progress to building population immunity," Strang said.
Nova Scotia opened its first prototype pharmacy vaccination clinic in central Halifax Tuesday as health officials reported five new cases of COVID-19 in the province — all contacts of previously reported infections.
Meanwhile, Premier Iain Rankin said he's planning on meeting with the premiers of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick next week to discuss the possible creation of a travel bubble that doesn't include Newfoundland and Labrador.
The so-called Atlantic bubble ended in November as a second wave of COVID-19 led to Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I. exiting the agreement, which allowed residents of the Atlantic region free travel to all four provinces without the 14-day isolation requirement.
Officials on Tuesday also reported five cases involving virus variants — three of the B.1.1.7 mutation and two involving the variant first identified in South Africa. They said there was no sign of community spread of the variants in the province.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 9, 2021.
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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
The Canadian Press