When can I get vaccinated?

COVID-19 vaccination is starting to ramp up across Nova Scotia. There are community clinics open now for Nova Scotians aged 65 and older, separate clinics are giving the AstraZeneca vaccine, plus special clinics for health-care providers, First Nations communities and other groups at high risk of getting COVID-19.

With things changing so quickly, it can be confusing to stay up to date about when you’ll be able to book a COVID-19 shot.

How it works
If you’re aged 65 and older
 you can book online now on this website or call 1-833-797-7772 (toll-free). You’ll receive the vaccine at a community clinic or pharmacy in your area. If you need transportation to your appointment, the Rural Transportation Association can provide transportation at a reduced cost.

If you’re aged 55 to 64, you can sign up to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at a physician’s office or pharmacy in your area – book online now on this website or call 1-833-797-7772 (toll-free). This is within the age range recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization for this vaccine.

You don’t need to be a regular patient at the clinic or pharmacy to book an immunization appointment. If the clinic closest to you is full, you can book at another clinic further away. Remember: All appointments need to be booked in advance. Do not go to a clinic or doctor’s office unless you have an appointment.

If you are a health-care provider, member of a First Nations community or belong to another high-risk group, your registration will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

If you don’t belong to any of these groups, your time is coming soon. See “When will it be my turn?” below.

Booking tips
When booking online, be sure to type in your name exactly as it appears on your health card. If you don’t have a health card, call 1-833-797-7772 to book your appointment.

Keep in mind that traffic on the booking website and the toll-free number is highest on days when new ages or age ranges are eligible to book. If a clinic is full, check another location. As more vaccine arrives, more appointments will be added, so check back often. You can also watch for updates from government on upcoming clinics and new age groups added.

When will it be my turn?
Nova Scotia is set to receive more vaccine shipments in the coming weeks and months. As more vaccine arrives from the federal government, more vaccine will be available to more Nova Scotians. We don’t know when specific ages or age groups will be added, but here are some approximate dates from government. You can check this website regularly for the latest updates.

But I have a health condition
Nova Scotians are being prioritized by age, not by health condition. That’s because being older is the main risk factor for getting seriously ill from COVID-19. Making certain medical conditions a priority for vaccination would slow the vaccination process and slow the building of “population immunity” that will protect everyone from the disease. If you have a health condition and aren’t sure if you should be vaccinated, speak with your family doctor or other health-care provider to help you decide.

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?
Yes, COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada are very safe. While they were developed more rapidly than past vaccines, safety was a top priority. Their safety was proven in large clinical trials and there is now even more evidence with hundreds of millions of doses given worldwide. Health Canada’s approval process is rigorous. With nearly 100 different vaccines in development, Canada has so far approved four that have all of the necessary clinical trials and safety data. Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada continue to monitor the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, providing weekly updates.

Is the AstraZeneca vaccine safe and effective?
The AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective, and will keep you from getting seriously ill from COVID-19 and needing hospital care. There were reports of blood clots in a small number of people that appear to be linked to the AstraZeneca vaccination in Europe; most cases were in women under age 55. There have been no reports of blood clots in Canada. Until more info is known, Health Canada has paused AstraZeneca vaccination in Canadians under age 55. People aged 55 to 64 are still able to safely receive this vaccine. The benefits outweigh the risks. If you have a chance to get this vaccine, take it.

I’m over 65; why can’t I get the AstraZeneca vaccine?
In Canada, the AstraZeneca vaccine was originally recommended for people aged 64 and under because there wasn’t much data on the vaccine’s effectiveness in seniors. That’s why this vaccine is only available for Nova Scotians 64 to 55 at this time. New research does confirm AstraZeneca is effective for seniors, and Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says it is safe to be given to people aged 65 and older. But for now, Nova Scotians age 65 and older will continue to receive the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

Can I still spread COVID-19 once I’m vaccinated?
It’s not known if getting vaccinated will prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to others. That’s why it’s still key to keep wearing masks and keeping distance from others, even when you’re vaccinated. What is known is that getting vaccinated protects you from getting extremely ill from COVID-19 and needing hospital care. The bottom line is getting vaccinated = less COVID-19 = life getting back to normal faster.

Learn more
Be sure you’re getting information about COVID-19 vaccines from trusted sources. Find reliable information from the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, Health Canada, Immunize Canada, Canadian Medical Association, and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.

Nova Scotia COvid-19 quick links

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19
List of COVID-19 exposures in Nova Scotia
Getting tested for COVID-19
Public Health mobile testing unit locations
Self-isolating guidelines
Nova Scotia COVID-19 resources
Download the free COVID Alert app

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