If only every vaccination could be recorded like Danielle Sheaves’—the first Pfizer jab in Nova Scotia.

Who’s missing from the tally of vaccinated Nova Scotians?

Locals who took their shot outside the province aren’t added to the NS vaccine report.

some Nova Scotians left the province to be vaccinated, back when our rollout was barely rolling at all. Some Nova Scotians were out of the province when we had the best vax rate in Canada, and got vaccinated to catch up before coming home. Some Nova Scotians spend their working hours away, so it made sense to get vaccinated away, too. No matter the reason, there’s a mechanism in place so any Nova Scotians who get a jab or two outside the province can register their vaccine(s) with local public health records. However, there’s no way for those vaccination numbers to make it into the province’s reported tally.

“Nova Scotia can only confirm what vaccines were administered in Nova Scotia,” said department of health spokesperson Kristen Lipscombe in an email. “People who receive a COVID-19 vaccine outside of Nova Scotia will not have it automatically added to their provincial immunization record.”

The province does not have an estimate for how many people may fall into this category, Lispcombe says, and she declined to say how many people have registered their out-of-province vaccine with public health.

In order to report COVID vaccine status with the province, residents can call their local public health office. The province recommends downloading the CANImmunize app to upload and store vaccine records digitally.

Earlier this summer, following concerns from Nova Scotians who had been vaccinated just once in another province, the department of health created a separate portal for these residents to book their second shot in their home province.

People got their shot when they were outside Nova Scotia aren’t the only vaccinated residents absent from the province’s vaccine reporting. Chief medical officer of health Robert Strang said July 14 that 8,000 Canadian Armed Forces staff who live in NS were vaccinated through the military.

“For privacy and data sharing reasons, we can’t incorporate their individual level data so it appears in the Nova Scotia data,” doctor Strang said. And so the vaccination statistics Nova Scotia reports on its COVID data dashboard won’t ever give a true picture of vaccinated Nova Scotians.

About The Author

Lyndsay Armstrong

Lyndsay is a city reporter covering all things Halifax, health and COVID-19. She is a data journalist who has covered provincial politics for allNovaScotia.com and represented Nova Scotia in a national investigation into lead in drinking water with the Toronto Star and Global.

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