A Covid-19 vaccine shipment of 6,000 doses is expected to arrive the week of Feb. 15, Nunavut’s chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson announced Tuesday.
Now that it’s known when the next vaccine shipment will be en route, the Government of Nunavut (GN) will proceed with vaccination of priority groups in Iqaluit.
“Starting with elders 65 and over as well as anyone living in a shelter. We will be doing this by appointment,” said Patterson.
People who fall within the priority groups can call Iqaluit Public Health at 867-975-4810 to book an appointment.
The clinics will take place at Iqaluit Public Health, building 1091 from Jan. 18 to 22 between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
There will also be appointments made at the Qikiqtani General Hospital clinic on Jan. 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“As we continue to announce new community-wide clinics, I encourage everyone to plan ahead for their vaccines, book an appointment or make a plan to walk in,” said Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq.
The Premier offered praise for Cambridge Bay, where “about 60 per cent of all adults there have made appointments already.”
Health Minister Lorne Kusugak added that this is the territory’s chance to bring things back to the way they were before the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We can bring the world back to what it was, not that long ago we had square dance competitions, community feasts, community events, where everybody old and young got together and enjoyed each other’s company. “Life was good – that was just a year ago,” said Kusugak, who encouraged Nunavummiut to get the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.
“If we don’t take the vaccine and follow the recommendations of health professionals 2021 won’t be much different than 2020 was,” the health minister warned.
Last week the Moderna vaccine began rolling out in Nunavut starting with the Iqaluit Elders home. This week, community clinics and more focused vaccinations are being administered for elders in Cambridge Bay, Gjoa Haven, Arviat and Igulik.
Patterson echoed the health minister’s recommendation for all eligible adults to take the vaccine, saying, “The vaccine is safe and has been extensively tested. I can tell you between the vaccinations in those communities and at the long-term care centre in Iqaluit, we have not seen any serious adverse reactions.”
On Jan. 11, public health measures in Arviat and Whale Cove were eased. Travel was able to resume after more than two weeks of no new cases in each community.
“We are not yet at a point where we can declare these outbreaks over, but we do believe it is safe to resume some activities,” said Dr. Patterson.
Masks are still mandatory in Arviat and Whale Cove. Outdoor gathering limits will increase to up to 50 people, indoor gatherings will rise to 10 people in addition to household members.
“Some family visiting can restart, restaurants and licensed establishments are still take out only, and arenas and other recreational activities can restart, but at smaller sizes,” Patterson said.
Savikataaq added, “We all need to do our part because our actions impact everyone’s health right now. Stay well, get vaccinated and stay vigilant for our communities.”