Note: each vaccinated person must receive two doses of vaccine. Source: Province of Nova Scotia

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The province of Nova Scotia has issued more details about how and when COVID-19 vaccines will be distributed, and the order in which people will receive them.

The vaccine distribution process has been divided into four phases, as follows:

Phase 0
(December 2020, already completed)

This was the health system’s learning phase, in which it tested delivery, distribution and administering of vaccine.

Some 9,550 doses of the vaccine were received, with 2,720 people receiving their first dose of the vaccine, and additional 2,720 doses held back for those people’s second dose. Included in the 9,550 number are 3,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine, which are reserved for the Northwood (Halifax campus), Shannex (Parkstone), and Oceanview long-term care homes.

The targeted groups were:
• Provincial COVID-19 related health-care workers
• Immunization teams
• IWK birth unit
• Long-term care staff (Central Zone)
• Long-term care residents and designated caregivers of Northwood (Halifax campus), Shannex (Parkstone) and Oceanview

Phase 1 
Limited Supply (January – April)

About 140,000 doses are expected to be received over this period, and health officials hope increase vaccination rates and test various delivery models to support in preparation of a more sustained Phase 2.

The target groups are:
• Health-care workers – direct patient care
• Long-term care residents, and staff and designated caregivers o Residential care residents and staff
• Adults in community 75+

In the last group, there are about 47,000 people over 80 years old who will receive the vaccine first, and then about another 40,000 people over 75 years old who will follow.

Phase 2
Ramp Up (Begins May)

About a million doses of vaccine are hoped for, and health officials plant to have large scale immunization capability.

The target groups:
• Remaining health-care workers
• Essential workers (currently being defined)

Phase 3
Steady state

This will be the large scale, continuous COVID vaccination that will be part of the broader immunization program. There are no clear numbers of expected vaccine doses at this time.

Health officials have additionally said that they expected more vaccines to be approved by Health Canada, but they have not yet factored in when and how those vaccines will be distributed.

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Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. The table is an excellent summary of what is planned for vaccine delivery in the 1st quarter of 2021 – thanks! I understand that it will be incredibly challenging to track the effectiveness of vaccine going forward as we try to follow the delivery of doses into the province, the timing of the injection of the two doses, and the timeline of immunity development over the month after injection.

    One early question that comes out of the table is the discrepancy between the plan – presented for 13,450 doses delivered between December 15th and Jan. 4th – and the CBC reported number of only 2,720 doses delivered ( Plans are great but accurate reporting on the delivery will be critical in following our progress.

    Thanks for your coverage so far and I look forward to your continuing efforts to follow this complex story.

  2. If there are 87,000 adults age 75+ in Phase 1 they would require 174,000 doses, which doesn’t even account for LTC staff, younger residents and other health workers, but they are only expecting about 140,000 doses in that phase. Are they assuming 20%+ won’t want the vaccine? Will some need to wait until Phase 2? Did they give any explanation for the discrepancy?

  3. I wonder whether there will be any allowance made for those with underlying respiratory conditions that don’t make the age cut? Hope there will be some advocacy on our behalf.