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GN hopes to acquire Pfizer vaccine for residents 12-and-up

Sharing cigarettes, household transmission main ways virus still being spread, says CPHO

Today the Government of Nunavut (GN) reported eight new cases and 14 recoveries of COVID-19.

Right now 23 per cent of cases are of those who are under 18, and the age ranges go up to an individual who is in their 70s.

Last week the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was approved for use in anyone 12 and older.

As a result, the GN will be arranging to acquire some of the Pfizer vaccine, however public health officials didn’t say exactly when this will be happening.

It will be administered first in communities experiencing an outbreak or communities that have a higher risk of introduction. Iqaluit will likely be the first to have the Pfizer vaccine.

There is also additional federal funding to help with the pandemic response.

“Yesterday, the Federal Government announced additional funding to help Nunavut in our COVID-19 outbreak response, we are grateful for this influx of in-kind and direct funding,” said Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq.

The GN is currently reviewing on how to implement these new investments.

The new investments are in remote learning, supporting child care, social supports and correctional services according to Savikataaq.

There have been four hospitalizations and medevacs to Ottawa to date from this current outbreak, two are currently recovering down south and should be able to come home soon.

“We continue to see spread of the virus in Iqaluit, including some through outdoor contact. If you are getting together with someone from outside your household, please wear a mask and do it outdoors,” said Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer.

If you have attended a house party within the last three weeks and cannot call the hotline or get through to it, then you are recommended to get swabbed at the Cadet Hall any weekday afternoon from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Other ongoing ways the virus is still getting transmitted include workers who go outside together to have cigarettes and one instance where two children were playing outside. However, household transmission continues to be a main cause of ongoing new cases.

“As long as (household) spread continues, the outbreak itself is going to continue.”

Patterson also addressed concerns around pregnant women getting vaccinated, “to date more than 90,000 women have received a vaccine during pregnancy, and both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are safe during pregnancy.

“We do know that the risks of COVID-19 are higher during pregnancy, and since the vaccines are our best protection, I encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated.”

He also added that vaccines lower the chance of transmission, while it is still being measured for an exact number, he said that it “in some preliminary studies, it appears to cut spread in a house from one person who’s infected by a least half.”

As per public health orders, all individuals travelling from Iqaluit must isolate for 14 days upon arrival in another community. People are also advised to call the COVID hotline for concerns of exposure or if they develop symptoms.

“Please stop gathering, the parties. The social interaction with people outside your household and the time spent outside with others without wearing your mask are just not worth it. The longer people keep doing this, the longer we will have to live with tight public health restrictions,” said Savikataaq.

There are currently 69 active cases in Nunavut, all of which are in Iqaluit.

There have been 130 recoveries since this outbreak began last month

So far, 16,525 Nunavummiut have received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine and 12,995 have gotten both doses and are fully vaccinated.