FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government announced today that pharmacies will play a key role in the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination plan.

Beginning today, New Brunswickers who are 85 and older may contact a pharmacist to set up an appointment to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Appointments will be scheduled at nearly every pharmacy in the province, with the first vaccinations starting Wednesday, March 17.

“Right now, only those who are 85 and older, or those calling on their behalf, can contact pharmacies to book an appointment,” said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard. “We have seen how booking systems in other provinces have been overwhelmed and how residents of some provinces have been forced to queue up to wait for vaccines. We do not want that to happen here, which is why our plan includes a gradual, sequential rollout.”

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said that while the vaccine is currently only available to the 15,000 New Brunswickers who are 85 and older who live in the community, it will be accessible over the coming months to everyone who would like to be vaccinated.

“New Brunswickers have played a tremendous role in keeping our COVID-19 numbers among the lowest in the country by following public health advice and avoiding actions that would overwhelm our health-care system,” Russell said. “In the same way, we ask you to patiently wait for your group to be identified before trying to book an appointment for vaccination.”

Vaccines will be administered by appointment only. At this time, appointments may be booked only by individuals who are 85 or older or by a family member or caregiver on their behalf. People who meet the criteria are asked to book only one appointment in one location.

A Medicare card will be required to book an appointment, however residents without a Medicare card are still eligible and should speak to a pharmacy. Appointments may be booked online if the pharmacy has an online booking tool on their website; otherwise, appointments should be made by calling the pharmacy. At this time, only pharmacies are accepting appointments.

More details about New Brunswick’s updated COVID-19 vaccination plan, including timelines for additional age groups and priority groups will be provided on Friday, March 12.

Two new cases

Public Health reported two new cases of COVID-19 today.

The two cases in Zone 1 (Moncton region) are as follows:

  • an individual 30-39; and
  • an individual 40-49.

Both cases are under investigation and are self-isolating.

The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 1462. Since yesterday, two people have recovered for a total of 1,398 recoveries. There have been 29 deaths, and the number of active cases is 34. Three patients are hospitalized and two are in intensive care. Yesterday, 782 tests were conducted for a total of 238,409.