Police officers’ family’s question COVID19 vaccine phase change

EAST HANTS/FALL RIVER: Family members of police officers and officers themselves are concerned they have been moved from Phase 2 to Phase 3 in the COVID19 vaccine rollout.

The Laker News was contacted last week by family members of several officers in the East Hants and HRM areas, wondering what the rationale was in the province moving them to Phase 3.

The family members explained one recent incident where the person their loved one arrested was on day 8 of their 14-day quarantine, and it was unclear if they had COVID19. It’s situations like that where police have no protection and unsure if the people, they deal with are infected. If they are, the cop then takes it home to their families and don’t know until a few days later.

When asked about it, the Department of Health and Wellness evaded answering the concern directly, instead explaining the consideration factors for each phase of the rollout of the vaccine.

“We know that age is the biggest risk factor for severe illness and death from COVID-19,” said spokeswoman Marla MacInnis. “Other than age, consideration for who gets the vaccine and when also include recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, the likelihood of exposure to the virus, the ability to practice good public health protocols, and local epidemiology.”

The following groups will continue to be prioritized in Phase 2:
— anyone who works in a hospital and may come into contact with patients
— doctors and nurses who work in the community
— dentists and dental hygienists
— pharmacists and pharmacy technicians
— those who live in large group settings and those who work directly with them, including correctional facilities, shelters and temporary foreign workers’ quarters
— those who are required to regularly travel in and out of the province for work, such as truck drivers and rotational workers. This does not apply to people who live in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick and cross the border every day for work 
— those who are responsible for food security and cannot maintain public health protocols due to the nature of their work, including those in food processing plants.

All other Nova Scotians, regardless of profession or health condition, will receive the vaccine based on their age.

MacInnis said the province has a responsibility to vaccinate those most at risk first and having the sequencing based on age is also the fastest way to be able to offer vaccine to all Nova Scotians.

“We ask that all groups continue to be patient as we work our way through the vaccination roll-out,” said MacInnis. “Anyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one.”