The provincial government released an updated COVID-19 vaccination plan today, which outlines a timeline for all New Brunswickers to receive the first dose of the vaccine by the end of June.

It was announced yesterday that people who are 85 and older may now book an appointment for their first dose of the vaccine by contacting a pharmacy. A family member or caretaker may also book an appointment on their behalf. Nearly every pharmacy in the province is participating to help ensure New Brunswickers are vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Pharmacists will begin administering vaccines to this group beginning next week on Wednesday, March 17. Those who are not 85 and older or calling on behalf of someone in that age group are reminded not to call a pharmacy yet so the system does not become overwhelmed.

“With an ever-increasing supply of vaccines and new scientific evidence supporting a delay of up to 120 days in administering the vaccine’s second dose, we will be able to complete the work of inoculating all New Brunswickers much more quickly than initially expected,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health. “This is good news.  The more people who are immunized, the quicker we will be able to achieve a level of protection in the population.”

Health Minister Dorothy Shephard announced today that after everyone 85 and older has had the opportunity to receive their first dose, those who are 80 and older will be able to begin booking appointments, followed by those who are 75 and older.

By the end of March, she said truck drivers, regular cross-border commuters and rotational workers will also be eligible to be vaccinated.

“We promised to address the burden placed on rotational workers and their families by the virus and we have been able to do so by moving this group up sooner in the updated vaccine rollout plan,” Shephard said. “Our goal is to be able to ease restrictions as soon as we can on their need to self-isolate. We will share more information on this as it becomes available.”

Beginning in April, vaccines will continue to be made available in descending age-based increments. Some additional priority groups will also be able to receive the vaccine at this time. More details about groups that will be eligible in April, May and June are available online.

Shephard said further announcements will be made soon to inform people when they are eligible to book an appointment to receive their vaccine.

“I appreciate that many New Brunswickers want to be vaccinated and I understand that everyone wants to know when their turn will arrive,” Shephard said. “Please continue to be patient and wait for your group to be identified. Do not contact your pharmacist until we announce that your group is eligible.”

Primary care providers will play a role in the vaccination plan in the months ahead, however they are not administering vaccines in their offices at this time.

Horizon Health Network and Vitalité Health Network will set up clinics beginning next week to administer the first dose of the vaccine to additional groups, including first responders and health-care workers who have not yet been vaccinated. More information will be provided to these groups directly, including details on how to book an appointment.

People with complex medical conditions will also be eligible to be vaccinated at these clinics. More information about qualifying complex medical conditions is available online.

One death reported

Public Health confirmed today that an individual between 40 and 49 in Zone 1 (Moncton region) has died as a result of underlying complications, including COVID-19. This brings the total number of COVID-related deaths in the province to 30.

“I am deeply saddened to learn that another life has been lost as a result of COVID-19,” Shephard said. “On behalf of all New Brunswickers, I wish to offer my sincere condolences to this person’s loved ones.”

“I join all New Brunswickers in sharing my deepest sympathies with the family and friends of this individual,” Russell said. “My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been impacted by this tragic loss.”

Three new cases

Public Health reported three new cases of COVID-19 Friday.

The three cases in Zone 1 (Moncton region) are as follows:

  • an individual 20-29. This case is under investigation;
  • an individual 30-39 who is a close contact of a case; and
  • an individual 60-69 who is also a close contact of a case.

The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 1,465. Since yesterday, three people have recovered for a total of 1,401 recoveries. There have been 30 deaths, and the number of active cases is 33. One patient is hospitalized. Yesterday, 560 tests were conducted for a total of 238,969.

Exposure notification

Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on March 8 while on the following flights:

  • Air Canada Flight 332 – from Edmonton to Montreal, departed at 11:41 a.m.
  • Air Canada Flight 8906 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 8:05 p.m.

People who travelled on these flights should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after the flight. Should any COVID-19 symptoms develop, they are directed to self-isolate and take the self-assessment online or to call 811 to get tested.

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Reminder of Yellow level

All zones are in the Yellow level under the province’s mandatory order.

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