Nova Scotia

Strang rejects 3rd dose for Nova Scotians with mixed vaccine doses and travel plans

Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health says there should be a focus on delivering vaccines to parts of the world that have not had any access instead of offering third doses to travellers who want to circumvent international restrictions.

Some countries do not recognize people with vaccine combinations as being fully vaccinated

A health-care worker prepares a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine during an immunization clinic in Halifax. (Robert Short/CBC)

Nova Scotia will not provide a third COVID-19 vaccine dose for people who are fully vaccinated with mixed vaccine doses and plan to travel internationally.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization authorized mixing and matching second doses on June 1, but some countries and cruise lines do not recognize someone with mixed doses as fully vaccinated. 

There have been requests from travellers for a third vaccine dose so they will have two matching doses in order to circumvent international restrictions on mixed doses.

The government of Quebec announced on July 26 it would offer an extra dose of mRNA vaccine to people who want to travel to countries that don't recognize mixed vaccine doses. 

No scientific basis

Speaking at Thursday's COVID-19 briefing, Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said the province has no intention of providing a third vaccine dose.

"There's actually no scientific basis for decisions other jurisdictions are making around this," Strang said.

He said the federal government was involved in negotiations with other countries to try and resolve the restrictions.

Citing a call by the World Health Organization on Wednesday for countries not to give so-called booster shots, Strang said there are many parts of the world that have had no access to vaccines.

He said the focus should be trying to ensure that there is a more equitable distribution of the vaccine to places that need it once Nova Scotians have received their first and second doses.

As long as other parts of the world don't have access to the vaccines, Strang said Nova Scotia will remain at risk.

"So even if we remain self-interested, it's in our best interest to allow other parts of the world to start to get vaccinated," he said.