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Frontline health care workers and long-term care staff will be the first to get COVID-19 vaccinations in Prince Edward Island beginning next week.

Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison told reporters Friday that the province expects its initial 1,950 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to arrive early next week and a clinic will be set up at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown on Wednesday.

“The arrival of the vaccine in December is the beginning of many months of our COVID-19 vaccine rollout,” Morrison said. “Everyone in P.E.I. will have a chance to be vaccinated, but it will take some time.”

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Morrison said because of specific handling requirements set out by Pfizer, the immunizations must take place near where the doses are received and stored, and that’s why Charlottetown is the site of the first clinic.

She said appointments for the shots must be booked, and those eligible will be contacted by phone in the coming days.

More vaccine will arrive on the Island by the end of the month Morrison said, and regular weekly shipments are to land over the next few months.

Morrison added that subject to regulatory approval, it’s anticipated the Moderna vaccine, which can be shipped more easily, would arrive within the next month.

“The intention would be to move this (vaccine) quickly to long-term care residents across the province,” Morrison said.

The province reported no new cases of novel coronavirus for the fourth consecutive day, and it currently has 12 active cases.

Morrison said enough progress has been made in controlling a recent outbreak in the Charlottetown area that restrictions could be eased later next week.

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The province entered a two week “circuit-breaker” lockdown on Monday after seven new cases of the virus were reported last weekend. All Islanders between the ages of 20 and 29 were asked to be tested for COVID-19 even if they had no symptoms.

“The response to the recommendation for testing was overwhelming,” Morrison said, noting that more than 4,000 people were tested over the last week.

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