Nova Scotia

Ontario couples want confirmation Nova Scotia will provide 2nd vaccine doses

Two couples who got their first COVID-19 vaccines at home in Ontario want the Nova Scotia government to confirm that they will soon be offered their second doses. Both couples spend their summers in Sandy Cove.

Partially vaccinated couples say they want to be treated the same as everyone else in the province

Suzanne Smith and Virginia Puddicombe own a home in Sandy Cove, N.S. They usually travel from their Ontario home to stay in Nova Scotia during the summer. (Stephanie Smith)

Two couples who got their first COVID-19 vaccines at home in Ontario want the Nova Scotia government to confirm that they will soon be offered second doses.

The couples spend their summers in Sandy Cove, N.S.

Sandra Cunningham and Suzanne Smith have both been coming to Nova Scotia for decades, returning for the tranquillity and comfort of spending time in a small coastal community.

"I have relatives that discovered the village of Sandy Cove in 1964, and bought a house here, and we've been coming ever since," said Cunningham. "My husband and I have now taken over the family home.

"Sandy Cove has been our sanctuary."

Smith and her partner, Virginia Puddicombe, own a home down the road.

Originally from Windsor, N.S., Smith moved to Kingston, Ont., for university and made it her home, except during the summer.

"It's been 30 years this year since we've bought this house to come back on our summer holidays," said Smith.

This spring, both couples returned before travel restrictions were imposed to prevent other seasonal visitors from entering the province. Smith came early to look after her elderly parents.

Both couples got the first dose before setting out for Nova Scotia, hoping it would afford them some protection against the virus, but attempts to secure their second doses have been fruitless.

They have emailed or called the province trying to book second doses but have not received confirmation they will get them.

Smith said she and Puddicombe are now past the date they would have received their second doses had they remained in Ontario.

"We're beyond that now, and getting well beyond it and still no information, so I guess I'm looking for information sooner, rather than later, that's all," said Smith.

Sandra Cunningham and husband Richard Davis in 2018. (Richard Davis)

Cunningham and her husband, Richard Davis, are in the same situation, growing increasingly frustrated that others their age are able to rebook their second shots earlier than anticipated because there's a growing supply of vaccines in Nova Scotia. 

"That window is currently eligible in Nova Scotia for a second dose so people that had their first dose here are moving up their second doses, where we haven't heard a thing," said Cunningham. "I'm just looking to be treated the same way as everybody else. No better, no worse."

Earlier this week, Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, brushed off concerns about people exceeding the maximum time between shots, as recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations.

"There's nothing magic about 105 days," said Strang. "These people will get slotted in along with other people who are here in the province as we roll out access to second [doses].

"They may be a little bit beyond their 105 days. That doesn't create any risk at all. We're not going to make them a priority.

Smith said she isn't looking for favours. "I'm just looking for corroboration that I'm in the system."

For Cunningham, it seemed that Strang was frustrated that people "from away" were feeling "entitled" but, she, too, said all she wanted was to be treated the same as everyone else in the province.

Since April, there have been approximately 1,500 requests for a second dose of vaccine from those who received their first dose from outside of Nova Scotia, according to the Department of Health and Wellness.

"However, it is important to note that the province only launched their second dose booking effort on June 2, meaning anyone who requested their 'second dose only' before this process was launched would have been held until such time," according to an email.

"Additionally, those who received their first dose of AstraZeneca needed to wait until we had provincial direction on how to move forward, including the NACI recommendation on interchangeability."

The email went on to say: "As of now, all those looking for a "second dose only" appointment can either book via our website if they have a Nova Scotia Health Card or call 1-833-797-7772 if they do not."


Jean Laroche


Jean Laroche has been a CBC reporter for 32 years. He's been covering Nova Scotia politics since 1995 and has been at Province House longer than any sitting member.


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