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COVID-19 vaccination clinic delivers AstraZeneca vaccine to Saint John

No amount of rainfall could dampen the spirits of people arriving Thursday at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in east Saint John.

They would get the AstraZeneca version of the shot, just days after new protocol changed who could get it.

The steady stream of appointments at Exhibition Park began early in the day.

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Whether waiting their turn or having just walked out of the clinic, there were expressions of excitement and satisfaction.

“We were always planning to get one,” said one woman, waiting in her car with her husband for their appointments. “We’re grateful and I think we’re a little bit relieved.”

“I was hoping to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” said a man who had received his shot moments earlier. “I think we all have to play our part and contribute to getting the community to herd immunity, if you will. I thought it was great that the opportunity was made available earlier this week to sign up and I did.”

“Very well organized,” said one woman of the clinic itself, post-vaccination. “Very smooth. Everybody was very pleasant and professional. It was very quick.”

Horizon Health Network hoped to vaccinate up to 240 people at the clinic.

On Monday, Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended making the AstraZeneca vaccine available only to people aged 55 and over, following reports of blood clots in a small number of younger recipients in Europe.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs received the shot on Wednesday and encouraged others in the province to trust its safety.

Read more:
AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine not recommended for those under 55, NACI says

Clinics, like the one in Saint John, for people in the newly-restricted age range were organized on short notice because much of New Brunswick’s AstraZeneca vaccine supply is due to expire on April 2.

People at the Saint John clinic seemed unconcerned about the new AstraZeneca recommendations.

“We read up on it, what information is available at this point and, really, we weren’t worried about it after,” said one man.

“I think all the vaccines are proven to be beneficial one way or the other rather than a hindrance,” another man stated.

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