Nova Scotia sees vaccination spike under new vaccine policy

For some Nova Scotians, the first day of Phase 5 of reopening on Monday meant a rush to roll up their sleeves.

Graham MacKenzie is a pharmacist in Baddeck whose shop currently doubles as a vaccination clinic. On Monday morning, he was preparing for a full afternoon of vaccine appointments.

"(It's) like it was back in April. People coming in from everywhere just to try and get a shot right now," MacKenzie said. "I have 90 shots to give out today … back in August, I would have been lucky to give out 10."

The president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union says even though it's now compulsory for school staff to be double-vaccinated, there are some teachers who still have questions about getting theirs.

"It's unclear what kind of accommodations are going to be made for medical exemptions," said NSTU President Paul Wozney. "That hasn't been finalized and communicated yet.  So there's a lot of people with concerns, worried about 'will I be eligible?'"

Meanwhile, the head of the paramedics union in Nova Scotia says he is hearing from some as to whether it should be mandatory.

"The ethical and the legal implications of whether this is actually legal or not," said Michael Nickerson, president of IUOE Local 727. "So we're delving into that."

A Department of Health spokesperson told CTV News in an emailed statement that the province doesn't yet have another specific vaccination target. The statement goes on to say that with 75.2 per cent fully immunized, they're seeing an increase in weekly vaccinations since the vaccine policy was announced.

Back in Baddeck, Graham MacKenzie said while some simply couldn't book an appointment earlier, others appear to be influenced by the new rules.

"It's come down to either get the shot, or really kind of be in a big inconvenience going forward," MacKenzie said.

The province says its goal for now is to continue to educate, encourage and provide access to those Nova Scotians who have not had a shot.