Auditor general to look at vaccine rollout in Nunavut, health minister says

COVID-19 vaccination process subject of pan-territorial audit

By Emma Tranter

Canada’s auditor general plans to take a close look at the COVID-19 vaccine rollout across Canada’s three territories in an upcoming audit.

Nunavut MLAs discussed the upcoming audit, expected to be published in 2023, in the legislative assembly Wednesday.

Health Minister John Main told the assembly he hopes his department’s upcoming work with the auditor general will examine not only the areas where his department succeeded in the rollout, but also the barriers it faced to getting it done more quickly.

That includes “infrastructure challenges, things like health human resource challenges, and also just the logistics that we are very aware of as Nunavummiut,” Main said.

Nunavut’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout began Jan. 6, 2021 when a group of elders in Iqaluit received the territory’s first doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Main said another important aspect auditor general Karen Hogan’s office could look into is “just how expensive it is to deliver health-care services in Nunavut.”

He said he hopes the auditor general will look at challenges involved in finding housing for health-care employees in Nunavut.

“It’s not just a case of finding a nurse or a professional; it’s also finding somewhere for them to sleep at night,” Main said.

Iqaluit-Taskiluk MLA George Hickes asked Main if he would like to see vaccine hesitancy among residents in the territory looked at as part of the audit.

Main said Nunavummiut should be proud that there were “no large anti-vaccine protests or Freedom Convoy-type events in Nunavut.”

Even so, he said, his department still found there was disinformation around COVID-19 vaccines in the territory.

“It was quite frustrating to deal with … vaccine microchip-type theories, and it just shows to me how important it is for us as a department to make sure that we’re present on social media so that we can provide facts,” Main said.

In a statement to Nunatsiaq News, a spokesperson for the auditor general’s office said the audit is currently in the planning phase.

The auditor general is also expected to publish a report on Nunavut’s Department of Family Services at some point this year.

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(16) Comments:

  1. Posted by why not ask the question? on

    Does vaccine hesitancy necessitate a conspiracy theory? If you are carrying out an audit wouldn’t you want to question why some chose not to take a vaccine? The lack of discourse over the past two years is troubling. Anything that is not in line with the dominant narrative is relegated to conspiracy theories.

    • Posted by Noted on

      In principle you are absolutely right, these are reasonable questions to ask, and even if we don’t think they are terribly valid or serious, they are still being asked and so should be addressed seriously and not simply relegated to ‘kooksville,’ which does nothing to dispel concerns.

      On the other hand, I think the evidence that vaccines are safe and show statistical significance in terms of efficacy overwhelms any counter evidence against them (which I have not seem at all).

      • Posted by you should ask questions on

        Obviously you have done none of your own research.

        • Posted by Noted on

          If you have some good sources of information to the contrary I’d be interested to take a look.

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      Hesitancy to the Covid vaccine specifically and vaccine hesitancy more generally is nonsensical, Vaccines are the single greatest determinant in ensuring good public health and protecting populations from scourges like polio, mumps, rubella, measles and Covid 19. The reason that vaccine hesitancy is relegated to the realm of conspiracy theory is because that is where it belongs. There is an overwhelming abundance of scientific data collected over decades that conclusively proves efficacy of vaccines.

      • Posted by H Halifax on

        Before vaccines the world average mortality was 44 years.
        After vaccines it rose to 73 years.

        No other advancement in human history has enabled such longevity and quality of life and health as vaccines. They are the single greatest innovation for a healthy humanity. There is 100% medical consensus on that point.

  2. Posted by Oh? on

    “It’s not just a case of finding a nurse or a professional; it’s also finding somewhere for them to sleep at night,” Main said.

    Mr. Main, what about the abuse and racism that these health care professionals face while working in Nunavut? What about the incompetent managers they report to? What about HR “forgetting” to payout their overtime? What about the pay that is no longer competitive with much of southern Canada? This has much more to do with than just a roof over their heads.

    And for vaccine hesitancy, sure we didnt have a freedom convoy (go figure), but Nuanvut still had the lowest vaccination rate in Canada. We still had public figures go on-air calling the vaccine “devil’s work”, we still had elder’s telling people not to get vaccinated despite government recommendations.

    • Posted by Ignore the Elephant on

      The racist abuse from patients is a most definitely a problem that is being ignored.

      • Posted by still here on

        and nurses

    • Posted by Experienced on

      What about the massive amount of abuse to Inuit cause of nurses? I have never been harassed and disrespected and criminalized over literally nothing (literally nothing) like nurse staff in Nunavut has done. Keep the tylenol and distilled water and bandages handy. We will be fine with out them.
      As for the ‘rollout’ – people shaming others because of their choices is disgusting. Either way you swing it. People thinking they know everything and their opinions being forced on others is the worst kind of low.
      I know, I know, its people like me that caused the pandemic, right? That spreads disease and doesnt do what you say. Healthy, active, fit, religious. Untrusting in the face of tyrrany. What an awful people we are. Or are we?

      • Posted by Vector Victor? on

        Interesting screed. The gist of the OP’s statement was not about the abuse of patients by medical staff, which certainly exists, it was about the abuse of medical staff by patients affecting retention.

        Your point, while it definitely has merit, is very much ‘whataboutism’.

        As for whether you are a disease vector or not – I’m not qualified to say.

      • Posted by John K on


    • Posted by All in on

      Racist treatment of patients here is more the issue.

      • Posted by Pangloss on

        I know its kinda fun, a little fashionable, and even a bit lucrative to look for racism everywhere, but let’s zoom out a bit and consider that the addressable problem might be a lack of mutual understanding between Inuit and non-Inuit, and this is turn makes empathy more difficult to achieve. If we start there i imagine we can work toward solutions more effectively than we can by hurling insults back and forth.

  3. Posted by John Pain on

    My favourite part of the vaccine rollout was how slow it was. In Iqaluit they brought in 1-2 agency nurses from Newfoundland to dole out the vaccine at public health. They refused to assign any nurses from QGH to speed up the process. So two by two they went slowly.
    Then after you were vaccinated they insisted on keeping the hotel quarantine facilities in place so you still had to isolate when returning to Nunavut for some months after, at which point many said why bother.
    Meanwhile Department of Health senior management was in and out bypassing the hub for annual leave and denying front line workers paid leave in the hotel jail.

  4. Posted by Minister of Yellth on

    Is anyone else tired of him yelling all the time?

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