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Media opportunity: Researchers explore Nova Scotian's compliance with COVID‑19 restrictions, vaccine uptake and find a heightened sense of community tied to tragedy
Early on in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Nova Scotia stood out nationally for its uptake of vaccines and people's acceptance of public health measures meant to contain the spread of the virus.
For a time, the number of COVID-19 cases remained low and Nova Scotians were largely content to follow provincially mandated health measures unlike some other areas of the country.
Now researchers at Dalhousie University have come up with some explanations as to why communities joined together to embrace COVID-19 public health measures that mandated masking, closed restaurants to in-person dining and limited socializing.
A team interviewed decision makers, community leaders and community members during the third wave of the pandemic between May and August 2021, discussing everything from the communication of public health measures to vaccine confidence and hesitancy.
The researchers, whose findings were published recently in the Canadian Journal of Public Health, found that Nova Scotians relied on trusted COVID-19 information sources and valued public health and government leaders who approached the issues in a manner that united rather than divided along political lines.
They also suggest that Nova Scotians' shared sense of responsibility to their community was heightened by two tragic events early on in the pandemic: the deaths of 53 older adults in care facilities and the mass shooting in Portapique, which left 22 people dead.
Dr. Audrey Steenbeek, a professor in Dalhousie's School of Nursing and a co-author of the study, is available to discuss the findings and how events early in the pandemic may have reinforced strong community values and trust in provincial mandated public health measures.
Senior Research Reporter
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