Here's the breakdown of how many Nova Scotians have gotten their first dose of vaccine
Province says age-based approach and stabilizing supply means rollout slightly ahead of schedule
The woman overseeing Nova Scotia's vaccine rollout says vaccine uptake in the province has been high and so far, there hasn't been any sign of hesitancy from older age groups.
Tracey Barbrick, associate deputy minister for the Department of Health and Wellness, said the numbers show the province's rollout plan is working.
Here is the breakdown of how many people in each age group have had at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine:
- 80 and up: 90.3 per cent.
- 75-79: 93.9 per cent.
- 70-74: 91.6 per cent.
- 65-69: 86 per cent.
- 60-64: 76 per cent, but there are more appointments scheduled for this week.
- 55-59: 53 per cent, but there are many appointments scheduled over the next two weeks.
Polling shows younger men "are the ones we expect we need to work the hardest to reach," said Barbrick.
On Tuesday, Nova Scotia opened appointments for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to people in the 40-44 age group.
Barbrick said the government's age-based approach along with a growing and stabilizing supply of vaccine means the rollout is now slightly ahead of schedule.
She said plans are in motion to potentially bump up people's bookings for their second shot.
But when that time comes, it will also be based on age.
'We don't want the Wild West'
Barbrick said offering vaccines by age groups keeps the system organized and provides equitable access to the vaccine — no matter where you are in the province.
She noted that appointments are only released "when we have confirmed shipments almost loaded on the plane."
"We don't want the Wild West," she said in an interview. "It's really a matter of organization. If you were a province that opened up to all age groups, it really means you're competing with everyone else to get an appointment."
Barbrick also noted that vaccines are not sitting on shelves. She said each dose that arrives in the province is earmarked for a destination, whether it's community clinics or specialized sites for target groups.
Some people have questioned the speed at which needles are going into arms, particularly on weekends. But Barbrick said it's more important to focus on how much of each week's delivery goes out, as opposed to doses on any single day.
"If we're moving the shipments that came in the week before, and people have good access — which they do — nobody is complaining about hours," she said.
"We're running whatever hours we have to run in order to move that vaccine for the week."
As of Monday, just shy of 30 per cent of Nova Scotians had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. A little less than four per cent are fully vaccinated.
With files from Michael Gorman