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click to enlarge Strankin predicts: Rankin says the vax rollout plan will be delayed, Strang says it won't. COMMUNICATIONS NOVA SCOTIA

Strankin predicts: Rankin says the vax rollout plan will be delayed, Strang says it won't. COMMUNICATIONS NOVA SCOTIA

Vaccine booking open to 60,000+ people aged 65 to 69 

It’s the largest age group yet, and could take a few weeks to get through.

As of Friday, April 9, Nova Scotia has opened vaccine eligibility for 65-to-69-year-olds. Anyone in that age group (or other already-eligible age groups) can now head to the online booking site or call 1-833-797-7772 to make an appointment for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, as well as a second dose appointment for about 16 weeks later.

Yesterday in Strankin’s regular COVID-19 briefing, the premier said this is the largest age group that the government has vaccinated so far—63,710 people according to the last Canadian census in 2016—and it will take a while to work through. “Given the number of people in this age group, it’s likely we won’t be able to drop down an age cohort in the next few weeks,” said Iain Rankin. “We’ll monitor uptake and go from there.”

Strang said despite the wave of baby boomers who will soon be booking their shot, there won’t necessarily be a delay in opening up booking to subsequent groups, provided vaccine delivery stays on schedule. “It doesn’t mean we’re delaying anything, we anticipated this all along,” he said.

Confused? Strankin’s assessment doesn’t quite match up.

According to the province’s projections from March, the 65-69 age group was planned to open for Pfizer and Moderna on April 12, with the next group, 60-64, opening one week later on April 19. Now, the 65-69 group has opened a few days early, ahead of schedule. But even with that extra time, premier Rankin says the next age group won’t open for a “few weeks” because it’s so large—blowing the plan to open April 19. Strang, however, says “we anticipated this all along” and there won’t be any delays, as if April 19 is still opening day for the 60-64 cohort.

Whatever pans out for this age group when Monday, April 19 rolls around, these Nova Scotians already have access to a different vaccine, the AstraZeneca shot.

As the age cohorts get younger, according to Stats Canada data, this growth in population will continue happening. For 60-to-64-year-olds, there are 69,960 people. And 55-to-59-year-olds make up the province’s largest age group, with a population of 76,505.

Rankin says this week, the province is administering a total of 40,000 doses, and next week we’ll be up to 50,000. According to provincial data, in the seven days before Friday’s briefing, Nova Scotia delivered almost 27,000 doses. That’s spread over multiple age groups, health care workers, African Nova Scotian and Indigenous communities, vulnerable populations and more.

As usual, supply levels more than two weeks out are still unknown, but Strang remains confident we’ll be vaccinating 12,000 people a day–or 84,000 per week—by May (that’s next month, if you’re counting).

“That’s based on what we expect to receive, what’s being predicted from the federal government.” he said. “And we’ve built our program, to ramp it up so we can get there.”

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