Auditor general to look at vaccine rollout in Nunavut, health minister says
COVID-19 vaccination process subject of pan-territorial audit
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.