Nunavut’s first Covid-19 vaccinations will take place at the Elders centre in Iqaluit on Wednesday.
The territory received 6,000 doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine last week with 3,000 doses each landing in Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet.
Following that, the next vaccinations will take place Jan. 11-12 in Iglulik and Gjoa Haven, with community clinics at the local high schools from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., with second doses to be offered on Feb. 8-9.
The Moderna vaccine requires two doses between 28 and 30 days apart. With these requirements, 3,000 Nunavummiut will be able to get vaccinated with the territory’s current supply.
There will also be focused vaccinations in long-term care homes in those communities during those dates. Facility staff will also get vaccinated.
“Focused vaccinations will have nurses go into Elders facilities to provide the immunizations,” Nunavut’s chief public health officer (CPHO) Dr. Michael Patterson said on Tuesday.
The following two communities to receive vaccines will be Cambridge Bay and Arviat, starting on Jan 14. The clinic in Arviat will be held until Jan. 18 at the local middle school while the one in Cambridge Bay will until Jan. 16 at a location still to be determined. These will also be from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Nurses and medical staff who travel to Arviat may have to self-isolate for 14 days after they leave, said Patterson.
Second doses for Arviat will be administered from Feb. 11 to 15 while in Cambridge Bay it will be Feb 11-13.
Community members are asked to book an appointment with their respective health centres to get vaccinated.
“I ask for your patience as we work towards vaccinating as many people as possible,” said Premier Joe Savikataaq. “There is a lot of logistics involved and we have (to) wait enough for the vaccines to get (to) all our adult community members.”
According to Patterson, future community clinics will be based on the number of doses left over from previous clinics as well as future shipments from the federal government. He estimates there will be enough people vaccinated during the next few months to cover most of the territory’s population.
“Nunavut should receive between now and the end of March (enough supply) to vaccinate 75 percent of the adult population, approximately 19,000 people,” said Patterson.
The CPHO is optimistic about the arrival of the Moderna vaccines and encourages everyone who is eligible to get it.
“This is a major milestone along Nunavut’s Path and one we are excited about. Immunization is voluntary but I do encourage as many eligible Nunavummiut as possible to take the vaccine,” said Patterson. “It is currently the best protection Nunavummiut can have against Covid-19.”