Nova Scotia to resume use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as second dose only

Nova Scotians who received their first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine will now be able to book their second dose.

In a news release on Tuesday, the province says the use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will resume for second doses only effective immediately.

"I am pleased we are able to provide some certainty for Nova Scotians who have been waiting on a decision regarding their second dose," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health.

The province says the decision comes after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization updated its guidance on the interchangeability of COVID-19 vaccines approved for use by Health Canada.

Any Nova Scotians who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine can now receive a second dose of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, or Moderna. Nova Scotians who received a first dose of Pfizer or Moderna can now choose a second dose of either Pfizer of Moderna vaccines.

"As part of the province's plan to reduce the second-dose interval, anyone who received a first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine will receive a notice by email to reschedule their second dose appointment," wrote the province in a news release on Tuesday.

According to health officials, Nova Scotia has about 2,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine that is set to expire at the end of June. Public health says, if the current supply is used and there is a need for more AstraZeneca vaccine, the province will request more from the federal government.

In total, about 58,000 Nova Scotians received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The province says the decision to pause the use of AstraZeneca in Nova Scotia was made on May 12, based on an abundance of caution due to an observed increase in the rare blood clotting condition linked to this vaccine.