Nova Scotia received its first shipment of 1,950 doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine yesterday (Dec. 15). Transportation, handling, and storage requirements (the doses must be stored at -70 C) mean the first vaccinations will be administered in Halifax.

“This is a milestone in the battle against the virus,” says Premier Stephen McNeil in a press release. “As the supply increases, every Nova Scotian will have access to the vaccine. But this will take many months, and I ask everyone to be patient in the meantime as the vaccine rollout begins.”

The first immunization clinic, operated by Nova Scotia Public Health, starts today, with the first vaccinations going to people who work in COVID-19 units in hospitals, emergency departments, critical care units, the birth unit and early labour unit at the IWK Health Centre, and regional care units.

Photo: CNS

Long-term care staff directly involved in patient care in Central Zone, including designated caregivers, are scheduled to get the vaccine in December.

All other long-term care staff, including designated caregivers, across the province will receive the vaccine between January and March. Nova Scotia will get small weekly shipments of vaccine until the end of March 2021, when health officials expect supply to increase.

“We must use the limited vaccine we receive where it will have the biggest impact in our health-care system and in our communities,” says Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “As vaccine supply increases… we will be able to gradually expand who gets the vaccine and where.” The Pictou Advocate reports.

Holding steady
As of yesterday (Dec. 15), Nova Scotia has 57 active cases of COVID-19, with six new cases reported in the latest government update. Nova Scotia Health Authority labs completed 1,612 tests on Dec. 14.

Sheldon MacLeod. Photo: Twitter

“Nothing about radio surprises me”
The Sheldon MacLeod Show offered thoughtful interviews with newsmakers and media insiders (including many Halifax Magazine contributors).

Sheldon MacLeod’s willingness to learn, listen, and challenge his own beliefs made him stand out amongst talk-radio’s usual cloud of bombast. His show was popular, with a growing audience; he was as surprised as they were when management recently laid off him and seven of his co-workers.

“For the last 25 years I’ve gotten up every morning and looked for stories to tell,” he says. “I’m just kind of taking it day by day. It’s been a hell of a year. I’m fortunate enough to have that opportunity.”

Janet Whitman has the story for Halifax Magazine.

Olivia Giffen. Photo: LinkedIn

Coldstream Clear expands
Despite—or perhaps because of—the pandemic, the Nova Scotia craft-drink business keeps growing. And five-year-old Coldstream Clear distillery in Truro, which makes a variety of alcoholic beverages, is growing in tandem. The company has just announced a 15,000-square-foot expansion of its production space.

“We can keep up with demand in the Maritimes, but to go beyond that, we had to go bigger,” says co-owner Olivia Giffen. “It’s a big jump.”

She tells Raissa Tetanish about it in this new Hub Now report.

N.S. researchers track rare snake
Researchers at the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute in Kempt, Queens Co. are on the trail of a rare and threatened snake. Eastern Ribbonsnakes live in the southwest interior of the province, only known to be in the scattered wetlands of the Mersey, Medway, and LaHave watersheds. They’re unique amongst Nova Scotian snakes because they spend much of their lives in the water.

“We have been going out and surveying habitats where we think they might be,” explains research Lori Phinney. “What we’ve really wanted to do is track where they go for the winter. We kind of know where they live for the summer, but because they just go underground and hibernate for the winter, we haven’t been able to find them.”

Kevin McBain has more for LighthouseNow.

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