New Brunswick

'The public is looking at us': N.B. doctor accepts invitation for COVID-19 vaccination

A New Brunswick emergency room doctor said he received an invitation to upcoming vaccination clinics in Miramichi.

'The best guidance that I can give them is that I am confident in the science'

A New Brunswick doctor says he has accepted an invitation to be in the first group in the province to be vaccinated for COVID-19. (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

A New Brunswick doctor said he's received an invitation from Public Health to receive the COVID-19 vaccination in Miramichi from the initial batch of doses to arrive in the province later this week. 

The province confirmed on Monday that 1,950 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will arrive around Dec. 14 with a second shipment before the end of the year.

Dr. Hanif Chatur, an emergency room doctor at Upper River Valley Hospital in Waterville, N.B., said he received an email from the province identifying him as a member of the initial priority group for clinics being held on Dec. 19-20 at Horizon's Miramichi Regional Hospital.

It takes two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to immunize someone against the virus.

The invitation said that anyone receiving the vaccine that weekend will need to be in Miramichi 21 days later — Jan. 9-10 — to receive a second dose.

On Sunday, Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, said Public Health has received shipping conformation for the vaccines and clinics will begin soon.

"I don't have the exact time and all the exact details, but it's on its way and our first clinics will be set up to start for this coming weekend," said Russell.

Chatur is also a founding member of eVisitNB.ca, a virtual clinic that started in January, and posted the details of the vaccination clinics on the site's Twitter feed Friday. 

He said he's been getting questions from the community about the vaccine, so he wants to lead by example.

"There's a level of vaccine hesitancy out there, and I appreciate that, but certainly I have a tremendous amount of confidence in the science and the scientists," he said.

Although Chatur received an invitation for the vaccination, he said it doesn't guarantee he'll be selected to receive it during this initial round.

Dr. Hanif Chatur, an emergency room physician from Woodstock, is a co-founder of eVisitNB, which seeks to improve access to primary care for New Brunswickers through virtual consultations. (eVisitNB)

"There's been more invites than there is vaccine," he said, adding that not all health-care workers can be in Miramichi on those dates because of work schedules.

He said he responded to Public Health to say he's available to make it to the clinics on those dates. 

Chatur said he has spoken with some of his colleagues about how much confidence they should publicly display about the vaccine. 

"The public is looking at us," he said. "We'll certainly be rolling up our sleeves and showing us getting the vaccine.

"The best guidance that I can give them is that I am confident in the science. I'm confident in the vaccine that I'm getting it myself, and I think there's no better way to … demonstrate that than to actually participate in the process." 

The federal government and the provinces have agreed to accept the recommendations of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization that the first wave of vaccinations should be for high-risk groups, such as residents of long-term care homes, the people who work there and front-line health-care workers.

Health Minister Dorothy Shephard announced the priority groups for the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday.

These groups include:

  • Long-term care residents and staff.
  • Staff from provincial rapid outbreak management teams who respond to COVID-19 outbreaks.
  • Extra-mural/Ambulance New Brunswick staff.
  • Health-care workers.
  • First Nations nurses.
  • Seniors 85 or older.

About the Author

Gary Moore

CBC News

Gary Moore is a video journalist based in Fredericton.

With files from Rose St-Pierre & Radio-Canada

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