Atlantic Provinces Still Waiting for Their First Shipments of COVID-19 Vaccine


A COVID-19 vaccine is prepared to be administered at a hospital in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

As Ontario and Quebec began administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Monday, leaders in the Atlantic provinces said their residents would have to wait a bit longer.

Health officials in New Brunswick said they didn’t know the exact date the vaccines would arrive in the province. But over the weekend, officials had said they expected to begin administering up to 1,950 doses of the vaccine at the Miramichi Regional Hospital on Dec. 19 and 20.

Officials had also said patients who receive the shot on those days will get their second dose on Jan. 9 and 10.

New Brunswick reported one new COVID-19 case Monday, involving a person in their 60s in the Moncton region. The province has 59 active cases of the virus. Officials said a resident who tested positive for COVID-19 at a seniors residence in Saint John died Sunday, but not as a result of the disease.

Officials in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia said Monday they will share details of their vaccination plans soon.

Meanwhile, health-care workers in St. John’s, N.L., will be the first in the province to receive a COVID-19 vaccine this week, officials said Monday. They were unable to say, however, exactly when the first shipment of 1,950 vaccines will arrive.

“Those details are all being worked on currently and we’re hoping, weather pending, that it’ll be within the next couple of days,” Premier Andrew Furey said.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said Monday that health-care teams will be ready to administer the vaccines this week, soon after they arrive. “However … adults living in nursing home and staff in nursing homes certainly are still among those top priorities to get the vaccine in the first quarter,” Fitzgerald said.

The province is expecting another shipment of vaccines next week.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new, travel-related case of COVID-19 Monday. A separate case reported over the weekend was found to be negative after subsequent tests, Fitzgerald said.

In the Coast of Bays region, along Newfoundland’s southern coast, the town of Harbour Breton is still on high alert, after three cases were recently identified in the community.

Fitzgerald said there is no evidence of community transmission in the area, and said more than 500 of the town’s 1,600 people have been tested. Officials haven’t announced a new case in the town since Thursday, “which is very reassuring,” Fitzgerald said.

— With files from Sarah Smellie in St. John’s.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 14, 2020.

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press

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