FREDERICTON (GNB) – Public Health reported today that 33.1 per cent of children aged five to 11 have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and an additional 17,210 appointments have been booked.

Overall, 82.5 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers are fully vaccinated, 89 per cent have received their first dose, and 11.1 per cent have received a booster dose. Currently, 38,730 appointments for booster shots have been booked.

“It is encouraging to see so many New Brunswickers getting vaccinated,” said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard. “This is especially important now as concerns about Omicron increase. If you are eligible, please book an appointment. Horizon and Vitalité regional health authorities are continually adding clinics as vaccination appointments fill up.”

A full list of walk-in clinics is available online. A detailed list of those eligible for a booster dose is also available online.

Those who are eligible for pediatric vaccinations or booster doses; and those who have yet to have their first or second dose, can schedule an appointment at a regional health authority clinic through the online booking system or at a participating pharmacy.

The provincial government reminds residents of temporary measures announced Monday, Dec. 13, to help slow the spread of the Omicron variant.

“I encourage anyone who has been to St. Francis Xavier University or to Antigonish, NS between Dec. 3 and 5 to book a PCR test at an assessment centre as soon as possible due to the high number of cases coming out of that area,” said Shephard. “I also ask those coming home for the holidays from post-secondary institutions outside the province to pick up rapid tests. We have 14 confirmed cases of Omicron. We know there will be more, but we need to take whatever steps we can to slow the spread. That is why we have put additional interim measures in place.”

81 recoveries / 177 new cases

Public Health reported today that 81 people have recovered from COVID-19 and there are 177 new cases of the virus.

There are 15 people in intensive care and another 26 are in hospital for a total of 41 people hospitalized. Of those in hospital, 25 are over the age of 60 and seven people are on a ventilator. There is no one under 19 hospitalized. The seven-day rolling average of hospitalizations is available on the COVID-19 dashboard. Six of the 41 people hospitalized were initially admitted for other reasons and contracted COVID-19 due to outbreaks at hospitals in Moncton, Saint John and Miramichi. Most of these people are exhibiting mild to moderate symptoms.

Identified samples will continue to be tested to determine their COVID-19 variant.

The rate of people hospitalized and in ICU, as well as new cases, continues to most greatly impact people who are unvaccinated. Information about the rates of cases and hospitalizations based on vaccination status, the age and origin of new cases, and additional information, is available on the COVID-19 dashboard.

Of the new cases today, 33 are in Zone 1 (Moncton region), 32 are in Zone 2 (Saint John region), 60 are in Zone 3 (Fredericton region), 17 are in Zone 4 (Edmundston region), three are in Zone 5 (Campbellton region), four are in Zone 6 (Bathurst region) and 28 are in Zone 7 (Miramichi region).

Rapid-test kit program

Rapid-test kits continue to be available across the province. Over the past week, 600,000 kits have been distributed to schools, workplaces and pick up locations. More information on the rapid-test kits program and pickup locations is available online.

Rapid tests are a helpful tool in slowing the spread of COVID-19 but only reflect a person’s status at the time of testing.

Update on schools and child-care facilities

Information on affected schools is available on the Healthy and Safe Schools website and on the COVID-19 dashboard.

Active cases continue to primarily affect elementary schools. Students and staff are reminded to continue following the Healthy and Safe Schools guidelines and all Public Health safety measures, which include vaccination, washing hands or using sanitizer, wearing a mask, physical distancing, and staying home and getting tested if symptoms appear.

To help limit the spread of the virus in schools, students in kindergarten through Grade 6 will begin their holiday break on Friday, Dec. 17, at the end of the regular school day. The last day of classes for students in Grades 7 and 8 will be at the end of the school day on Tuesday, Dec. 21. For students in Grades 9-12, there will be a noon dismissal on Thursday, Dec. 23. Rapid tests will be provided to all students so they can test regularly over the holidays.

Families are encouraged to pick up rapid tests for other family members. If their child has been identified as a close contact, the tests will be provided through their school; otherwise they are available from the nearest pickup location. Anyone who receives a positive rapid-test result, or who is experiencing one symptom of COVID-19, must isolate immediately and book a test at an assessment centre.

Learn more:

All of New Brunswick is currently in the Level 1 phase of the winter plan to manage COVID-19. More information on the plan, including on the additional temporary measures, is available online.

Any household in New Brunswick with a positive case of COVID-19 must isolate for 14 days, regardless of vaccination status. Individuals advised by Public Health or a physician, including confirmed cases of COVID-19, must isolate. More information about isolation is available online.

Potential public exposure locations and dates are listed online. A map of potential public exposures can also be found on the COVID-19 dashboard.

Information and resources to help New Brunswickers live with COVID-19 is available on the COVID-19 guidance and resources webpage.

Information about testing, including booking PCR tests and using rapid tests, is available at

Travellers, including New Brunswickers returning to the province, must register their travel with the travel registration program.

Holiday guidelines for individuals, retailers and event organizers on how to plan for a happy and safe holiday season are available online.