Vaccine evidence removed in non-essential services in the Maritimes, but still in place in hospitals and long-term care facilities
The Maritime provinces have removed proof of vaccination requirements in non-essential services, such as gymnasiums, restaurants and entertainment centers, and some welcome the change.
“It’s such a relief, because I keep saying we’ve wasted years of our lives over the last six months, waiting for people to poke around, check their phones, pull out their IDs , and each person says, ‘Oh me too?’ Yes you too. So it’s really nice to say instead, ‘Oh, two? Great,’ and just welcome them,” said Erin Gow, a waitress at a Fredericton restaurant.
There are other places, like some universities, that have also removed their requirement for proof of vaccination.
However, Maritimers will still need to show proof in a few places, such as long-term care homes in Nova Scotia and hospitals in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. In Prince Edward Island, long-term care homes and hospitals are not yet allowing visitors, so no proof was needed.
You will still need proof of vaccination to travel by plane or train and to cross international borders.
“We knew this was going to happen as we entered the endemic phase, we certainly heard about it from public health,” said Alistair Bursey, a pharmacist in the Fredericton area.
“I think we have enough tools in our tool belt to continue protecting the vulnerable.”
The Bursey pharmacy is one of 17 in New Brunswick to carry Pfizer’s antiviral drug Paxlovid, a treatment that can prevent serious illness caused by COVID-19.
“We’ve only done two treatments so far,” Bursey said.
“We have quite a number of drugs here…in fact, in conversation with various patients who we offered the treatment to, they actually found that Omicron was so mild that they withdrew.”
Dr. Heather Johnson, president of Doctors Nova Scotia, says the medical community will be watching and waiting — like everyone else — to see how this decision plays out. She thinks many of those unvaccinated today were probably not going to be convinced.
“I think we’ve achieved good vaccination rates with the mandates and we can move forward now,” she said. “I think that’s also the public health perspective, that we’re where we are and see how it works.”
As for government employees who have been absent from work because they are not vaccinated, the Government of New Brunswick is not changing this requirement – yet.
“Vaccination against COVID-19 remains a condition of employment for current and new employees until further notice,” said a spokesperson for the Government of New Brunswick.
“We will be conducting a review of the proof of vaccination mandate in the coming weeks.”