PC MLA and Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women Critic Karla MacFarlane says the Rankin Liberals must prioritize pregnant individuals in the vaccine rollout.
“Stop delaying,” says MacFarlane. “The Premier should learn lessons from other jurisdictions and put pregnant Nova Scotians at the top of the list for the shot. They need that option.”
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended vaccines to pregnant individuals pending sign-off from a physician.
This comes after mounting concern from healthcare professionals in Ontario after seeing a rise in pregnant patients entering ICUs battling COVID-19. Experts are encouraging the shot, with studies showing that women with COVID-19 are more likely to require ventilation and three times more likely to be hospitalized.
“I cannot begin to imagine what it is like to be pregnant right now in the middle of a global pandemic,” says MacFarlane. “Being pregnant is already a sometimes terrifying experience without the real fear of becoming sick from a contagious virus.”
Other provinces have already put this measure in place, while the Nova Scotia PCs have long advocated for vaccine priority for those with vulnerable or pre-existing conditions.
“We’re in the third wave - we know it, and Nova Scotians are willing to step up to help curb the spread,” says MacFarlane. “But we can’t stop there. Whether the government likes it or not, there are people in this province who need our protection, and that’s not something you can organize by age.”
The government's own estimates put us into the fall before Nova Scotians in all age groups have both vaccinations. MacFarlane says with the recent rise in Covid cases, it’s time to re-evaluate if the age-based approach is ensuring Nova Scotians at high risk are protected.
“It was perfectly fine to use the argument that our epidemiology allowed us to strike hard and fast on vaccines in an age-based manner, but that didn’t happen, and the situation has quickly changed,” says MacFarlane. “I urge Premier Rankin to shift his strategy to ensure pregnant women are prioritized as soon as possible.”