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Changes to GN’s COVID plan to be announced after youth vaccine clinics

“The situation in Iqaluit continues to improve,” says top doc
Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq says he’s optimistic about the start of this week’s youth vaccination clinics taking place in Nunavut. Trevor Wright/NNSL photo

Changes to Nunavut’s Path, the GN’s strategy of moving forward during the COVID-19 pandemic, will follow the youth vaccination clinics in each community, according to the Government of Nunavut.

“It’ll be a graded response where we move away from the immediate, complete lockdown to something that’s more tailored depending on the level of vaccine uptake in the community. That’s probably at least a week or so away from where we are now,” chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson said on June 17.

Pfizer vaccine doses have landed in Arctic Bay, Clyde River, Igulik, Naujaat, Pangnirtung, Pond Inlet, Qikiqtarjuaq, Sanirajak, Resolute Bay and Kugaaruk. Those shots will be prioritized for youth ages 12-17.

Delivery to Grise Fiord was delayed by bad weather and should be arriving at some point on June 17, according to the Government of Nunavut.

Premier Joe Savikataaq encouraged parents outside of Iqaluit to make appointments with their local health centres.

“Pfizer vaccines are more difficult to transport and have a much shorter shelf life once thawed,” he said. “Now is the time to get teenagers vaccinated, please don’t wait because we can’t guarantee we’ll be able to administer Pfizer outside of these community clinic dates.”

Most health centres in Nunavut are only able to store the Pfizer vaccine for 30 days, if it’s not used, it needs to be discarded.

Mass vaccinations for youth in Iqaluit started on June 16 and run until June 19. This is happening while the pandemic situation in the capital continues to improve.

There have been 639 doses of the Pfizer vaccine administered to youth, mostly in Iqaluit, as of June 16.

“It looks like we’re off to a really strong start, and that is encouraging and I applaud anyone who went (to the vaccination clinic),” said Savikataaq.

There has been no spread at Aqsarniit Ilinniarvik following the announcement that two students contracted the virus earlier in the week.

The exposure notices announced the previous week for the Qikiqtani General Hospital emergency room and the Tammaativvik Boarding Home have also not resulted in any spread of COVID-19.

“The situation in Iqaluit continues to improve,” said Patterson. “I urge people to be patient for a little longer for the public health measures. Following the measures will help end the outbreak.”

Nunavut employees of Agnico Eagle mine sites can return to work in stages. No such plans yet exist for the Mary River Mine in the Qikiqtani region as the outbreak there has not been declared over yet.

“It’s not like flipping a switch. There’s nobody back at any of their sites yet today,” said Patterson. “They’re engaging with their staff, seeing who wants to return and doing the work to retrain and refamiliarize them with their job and with the new protocols in place at every site.”

There are no new or recovered cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut as of June 17, and there are currently eight active cases in the capital of Iqaluit.

No one is currently in the hospital due to the coronavirus in Iqaluit. One individual who was medevaced is currently in a Ottawa Hospital.

There have been 254 recoveries since this outbreak began in April.

As of June 15, 15,867 people in Nunavut have been fully vaccinated, with a further 2,224 have gotten their first doses.

With vaccinations for youth starting on Tuesday, the Government of Nunavut will be providing updated numbers when available.

There are 40 people in isolation as of June 17.

There have been 276 requests for exemption from southern isolation.