With the federal government setting a firm date of December 14th by which provinces must be ready to accept COVID-19 vaccines, the question remains: is Nova Scotia ready?
“Nova Scotians want to know when the vaccine will arrive in the province and when they, personally, might be able to access it.”
PC Leader Tim Houston is calling on the provincial government to show that they have a plan for vaccinating Nova Scotians and communicate it.
“Other provincial governments have been very clear on conversations about the numbers of doses, expected arrival dates, and have even announced vaccine task forces,” says Houston. “But there has been little communication in Nova Scotia about how much we are receiving, when we are receiving it and what the plan is once it arrives.”
A December 14th date leaves just 10 days to meet the federal government’s deadline to be ready. Houston says that the provincial government has made a lot of COVID-19 decisions without plans, opting instead for a reactive approach. That approach won’t work with vaccines.
‘We can’t risk being left behind and unable to accept our allotted doses. We were behind embracing asymptomatic testing, I don’t want to see us last in line securing vaccinations,” said Houston. “The ‘wait and see’ approach won’t work. We need real leadership at the federal table stating our case and sharing our plan.”
Karla MacFarlane, Progressive Conservative critic for Health notes that shipments from Moderna and Pfizer will be more complex than the flu vaccine, with proper refrigeration, transport and storage necessary.
“This government has struggled to ensure the distribution of enough high-dose flu vaccine and regular flu vaccine,” said MacFarlane. “We know that procuring and storing the COVID-19 vaccine is infinitely more complicated. Nova Scotians want to know how close we are to having everything we need from freezers to supplies, and they want to see a plan.”
Houston noted that there was a positive public response to being given more information, more testing capacity and an ability to be tested more frequently, and that vaccinations would be no different.
“Every success from COVID-19, here and around the world, has come when governments have communicated their plan to the public, and explained what they expect from us,” says Houston. “When it comes to vaccines, and putting this virus behind us once and for all, a clear, transparent plan is needed.”