Results from the funded study: Best Practices for Mitigating the Impact of SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern

Pillar 8
Public Health, Health Systems and Social Policy Impacts

Soon after Health Canada authorized the first COVID-19 vaccine for use in Canada in early December 2020, each of the provinces and territories launched a vaccination campaign with the objectives of saving lives and ending the pandemic. This report provides an overview of activities taken in Nova Scotia to roll out and promote the uptake of the primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine to adults during the first year of vaccine availability.

The report describes the vaccination program in Nova Scotia’s:

  • Governance;
  • Underlying principles;
  • Prioritization of population groups;
  • Efforts to ensure access;
  • Public communication strategies; and
  • Actions to establish sufficient infrastructure and health workforce capacity.

One of a series of provincial case studies, this report can be used to understand Nova Scotia’s program in depth, as well as to compare and contrast provincial COVID-19 vaccination campaigns.

Nova Scotia’s strategy was to immunize 75% of its population by the end of September 2021. The province adopted a highly centralized vaccination campaign starting with its leadership structure. In keeping with this approach, the province partnered with CANImmunize in late 2020 to develop a single province-wide vaccine booking system, which was used by all clinic types (for example, pharmacies, drive-through centres, and doctor’s offices). Although, initially, Nova Scotia’s vaccination rate was among the lowest in Canada, by mid-June 2021 the province was leading the country in delivery of first doses. As of November 6, 2021, 87% of Nova Scotia’s adult population had received two doses, compared to the national average of 85%.

Habbick M., Allin S., Camillo C.A., Fitzpatrick T., Mauer-Vakil D., Muhajarine N., Roerig M., & Rowein S. (2022). COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout: Nova Scotia. CoVaRR-Net and North American Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout Monitor.