COVID-19 vaccine’s not a cure, Nunavut’s top doc warns
Territory reports one new case
The impending arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t mean Nunavummiut can relax and let their guards down in the fight against the potentially fatal coronavirus, Dr. Michael Patterson, the chief public health officer, says.
Nunavut’s Health Department reported only one new case of COVID-19 Thursday. Counting recoveries, there are now 37 active cases in Nunavut, all in hard-hit Arviat.
But Patterson warned COVID-19 poses a long-term threat and that the arrival of the vaccine should be seen as a first step in a long journey.
“It is not a cure, but the best defence we have so far,” he said.
Nunavut is expected to receive batches of a vaccine made by the U.S.-based Moderna Inc. sometime in the new year, soon after Health Canada approves it for use in adults aged 18 and over.
Nunavut is expected to receive enough doses of the Moderna vaccine to inoculate up to 75 per cent of the population.
Medical freezers capable of storing the Moderna vaccine at -20 Celsius have already been pre-positioned in the territory.
As of Thursday, Nunavut has reported 259 lab-confirmed cases and 222 recoveries.
The territory reported its first case on Nov. 6 in Sanikiluaq, but after that the caseload grew quickly with cases confirmed in Rankin Inlet, Arviat and Whale Cove.
Arviat, which has seen a total of 217 confirmed cases, is still under strict lockdown. As of Dec. 16, Arviat had also produced 972 negative tests.
There are now zero cases in Sanikiluaq, Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove, but monitoring in those communities continues.
Across Canada, more than 481,000 cases and nearly 14,000 deaths have been reported since March, when the pandemic began. Nunavut has reported no deaths so far.