Nova Scotia COVID-19: Vaccine rollout details and FAQs
Nova Scotia COVID-19 Vaccine information
Vaccines are products that help protect you from viruses that cause illnesses like COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine will be free for everyone in Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 immunization plan includes a 3-phase approach. As more vaccine is received, more groups will become eligible to get the vaccine.
Each vaccine has different rules on how you can move and store the vaccine. Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 immunization plan looks at:
- how and when the vaccine supply is delivered
- how, when and where the vaccine can be moved around the province
- what kind of specialized equipment is needed to move and store the vaccine
- who will get the vaccine and when based on guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization
Nova Scotia expects to receive 150,000 vaccines from 16 December 2020 to 31 March 2021.
Learn more: who should and shouldn’t get the vaccine.
Getting the vaccine
The first round of vaccine arrived in Nova Scotia on 15 December 2020. This limited round was used in Nova Scotia Health Authority Central Zone due to increased COVID-19 activity and the storage requirements of the vaccine. The vaccine was used to immunize staff working in:
- COVID-19 units in hospitals
- emergency departments
- critical care units
- birth units and early labour unit at the IWK Health Centre
- regional care units
Nova Scotia will receive small weekly allotments of vaccine throughout the first few months of 2021. Larger amounts of vaccine will be received as it becomes available. Vaccine will be distributed to sites with cold storage and clinics across the province.
The vaccine will be available to people in priority groups throughout 3 phases. Priority groups are based on guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.
The first phase of Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 immunization plan runs from January to April 2021. During this phase, the focus is to immunize priority groups and develop, test and evaluate different ways to deliver the vaccine before larger amounts of vaccine arrive for the second phase.
Priority groups that are eligible to get the vaccine in phase 1 include:
- front-line healthcare workers who are closely involved in the COVID-19 response (more likely to be exposed to COVID-19)
- residents, staff and designated caregivers of long-term care facilities
- residents and staff of residential care facilities, adult residential centres and regional rehabilitation centres
- seniors living in the community who are 80 or older
- seniors living in the community who are 75 to 79
- healthcare workers (like doctors, paramedics and homecare workers) who are in direct contact with patients
Starting in January 2021, COVID-19 vaccination clinics for healthcare workers will be organized by occupational health and safety in several parts of the province as the vaccine supply begins to increase. During phase 1, Public Health will also test community and provider-based clinics in preparation for later phases.
The second phase of Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 immunization plan is expected to start in May 2021 and includes remaining healthcare workers and essential workers (Public Health is working on the criteria for essential workers who will be included). As more vaccine becomes available more groups will be added based on priority.
The third phase of Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 immunization plan is expected to start in summer 2021 and includes the broader community, including anyone who was eligible and didn’t get the vaccine in phase 1 or 2.
In addition to getting the vaccine, you need to follow public health directives, including gathering limits, social distancing guidelines, hand washing guidelines and wearing a mask when in public places. You should also stay home if you feel unwell and complete a COVID-19 Self-assessment.
- Canada’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan: Saving Lives and Livelihoods (PDF)
- Canadian Vaccination Evidence Resource and Exchange Centre
- COVID-19 vaccines
- Vaccine safety