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N.S. officials say 99 per cent of government workers at least partially vaccinated

·2 min read

HALIFAX — The vast majority of Nova Scotia public sector workers have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, ahead of Tuesday's deadline, but some services may still be affected, according to officials.

The province said in a news release on Tuesday that 99 per cent of government employees and 99 per cent of front-line health-care workers and of paramedics and education staff have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Public sector workers have until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to submit their vaccination status to the province or risk unpaid leave.

Despite the high vaccination rates, the small number of unvaccinated workers who are forced on leave might create service disruptions, the government said. Officials added that the Seniors and Long-Term Care Department had been dealing with pre-vaccine mandate labour shortages, which could mean some facilities and home-care agencies may not be able to accept new residents — even if a small number of employees in that sector are put on leave.

Premier Tim Houston said in a statement Tuesday that the disruptions should be minor given how many people are vaccinated.

All provincial agencies have contingency plans in case employees are placed on leave, but most don't expect to need them, according to officials.

The government said 20 exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccine mandate have been granted, including two of 134 human rights exemption requests and 18 of 49 medical exemption requests.

Meanwhile, the province reported 61 new cases of COVID-19 and 31 recoveries from the disease on Tuesday. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang said in a news release that a cluster of cases in the northern zone involved a group of largely unvaccinated people.

Nova Scotia has 200 active reported cases of COVID-19 and 13 people in hospital with the disease, including four in intensive care.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press

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