N.S. needs 15,000 more people to get second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to hit 75 per cent target

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Eighty-year-old Winston Barnwell got his first dose of vaccine on Tuesday afternoon.

"A neighbour offered to arrange it and take me in, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered," he said after getting the shot. "But my brother … younger brother's got cancer and I may want to travel."

Barnwell wasn't the only person who decided to pop into a drop-in vaccination clinic at Saint Mary's University to get vaccinated.

Rumman Islam also got his first shot.

"Just to be immunized, I guess, keep everyone, myself safe," said Islam. "Honestly, it was kind of like a no-big-deal kinda thing, just a little pinch and it's over."

Public Health nurse Tara Cuzner says officials are still seeing a lot of people pop into vaccine clinics for their first shot.          

"COVID's not going away unfortunately. We're seeing that. So, it is the best first line of defence against COVID to protect yourself and our communities," said Cuzner.

Nova Scotia is hoping to move into Phase 5 of its reopening plan and drop virtually all COVID-19 restrictions on Sept. 15, but only if 75 per cent of the province's entire population is fully vaccinated.

Right now, 71.6 percent of Nova Scotians are double-dosed.

"It is absolutely, 100 per cent doable," said Tracey Barbrick, the deputy minister in charge of the vaccine rollout in Nova Scotia.

With just eight days to go, the push to get to 75 per cent continues.

"We are going to be working hard to reach 75 per cent by Sept. 15," said Barbrick. "Right now, based on what we've got booked and scheduled, we'll be 73.8 per cent fully vaccinated so that means we need close to another 15,000 people to either walk in and get a dose of vaccine or make an appointment before the 15th and get a vaccine."