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Nunavut to get enough Moderna vaccines for '75 percent of Nunavut’s population' Premier says

Following the Dec. 10 First Minister's meeting, Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq announced Friday the territory would be receiving enough doses of the Moderna vaccine to vaccinate 75 percent of Nunavummiut over the age of 18.

Chief Public Health Officer for Nunavut, Dr. Michael Patterson (centre) during a Covid-19 update on Dec. 11 at the Nunavut Legislature. Today Premier of Nunavut Joe Savikataaq (left) said the territory would get enough to vaccinate 75 percent of the population. Trevor Wright/NNSL photo

He hopes this happens within the first quarter of 2021 once the vaccine is approved for use in Canada. While a vaccine by Pfizer has been approved this week, this is impractical according to Nunavut’s Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) Dr. Michael Patterson, with a number of logistical challenges associated with it.

“The Pfizer vaccines storage and transport requirements such as a cold-chain storage requirement of -80 C and it’s sensitivity to transport do not make it an appropriate choice for Nunavut.”

With a storage temperature of -20 C, the Moderna vaccine fits much better for the territory’s needs as a whole, Patterson adds.

“The delivery of the vaccine will take into account the unique realities of our territory, while ensuring the highest risk individuals, such as residents and caregivers in long-term care and Elders centres for example are given priority when it comes to vaccine distribution.”

The Government of Nunavut (GN) is working towards a roll-out plan the Premier added.

“In the meantime we are working hard to double-up our roll-out plan, the logistics and the human resources necessary to administer the vaccine.”

While Nunavut’s vaccination plan is underway, Savikataaq maintained the importance of social distancing and keeping groups small in the home.

“As we get closer to the holidays, I want Nunavummiut to re-understand what this season will look like, we need to prepare for a very different Christmas season.”

This means communicating virtually, over the phone and distant visiting through the window/porches Savikataaq said.

“Nunavummiut, especially those in Arviat, please don’t take any chances, as long as we have people not following the measures, we will see cases rise.”

Anyone who has reason to believe they have been exposed to Covid-19 is advised to call the Covid-hotline at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST, or notify their community health centre right away, and immediately isolate at home for 14 days. Please do not go to the health centre in person.