First batch of COVID-19 vaccines land in Nunavut

Moderna vaccine’s arrival a “big step in fighting the COVID-19 virus,” premier says

Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq, left, and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson watch the first boxes of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine roll off a cargo ramp at the Iqaluit airport Dec. 30. (Photo by Dustin Patar)


Three thousand vaccines will be stored in freezers at Iqaluit’s Qikiqtani General Hospital, while another 3,000 will go to Rankin Inlet. (Photo by Dustin Patar)

Six thousand doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine landed in Nunavut Wednesday, the next step in a plan to vaccinate 75 per cent of the territory’s adult population by the end of March.

Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson arrived at the Iqaluit airport Wednesday morning, Dec. 30 to see the first boxes of the vaccines roll off the cargo ramp of a Canadian North flight.

Half of those doses will be stored in Iqaluit’s Qikiqtani General Hospital, while the other 3,000 are destined for Rankin Inlet.

“The vaccine is here and I’m so glad for Nunavummiut,” Savikataaq told reporters at the airport Wednesday morning.

“This is … hopefully a big step in fighting the COVID-19 virus. Today’s a very good day.”

The territory’s vaccination campaign isn’t set to begin until next week, when health officials hope to prioritize front-line workers and elders.

As the territory’s supply increases in the new year, the vaccine will start to be made available to adult Nunavummiut in all communities.

Patterson said the territory is expecting to receive new shipments of the vaccine every three weeks — enough to vaccinate three-quarters of Nunavummiut adults over the next three months.

Health Canada and Moderna have recommended two doses of the vaccine for each individual, given four weeks apart. But Patterson said the territory hasn’t decided on how it will roll out its vaccination campaign just yet — that will depend on supply and logistics.

The Government of Nunavut plans to hold its next COVID-19 press conference on Jan. 5.

There are currently just three active cases of COVID-19 in the territory; one in Arviat and two in Whale cove.

The Government of Nunavut recently revised its number of COVID-19-related deaths and now counts only one.

Earlier in December, it reported two men had died of COVID-19-related issues on Dec. 19 — one from Arviat and another from Rankin Inlet. But earlier this week, the government changed the number because it still must confirm which jurisdiction one of the deaths should be recorded in, a health department spokesperson said.

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(23) Comments:

  1. Posted by Peter on

    Thank you Joe! I am very glad we got the vaccine so soon, this will help for sure, I will be in line with my family to take it.
    Now the GN should be putting out more information on the vaccine as so many are not properly informed and educated on this vaccine. Lots of people are saying false things about the vaccine and trying to spread fear about it when it’s unnecessary.
    There has been many vaccines each of us have taken over the years, vaccines have been around for many years and are proven safe for majority of people, there are always a few that have allergic reactions not only to vaccines but from other things also. Which is normal.
    If you are nervous about taking this vaccine I’d suggest you do some research from credible sources and not from FB or your cousin. It’s safe and won’t infect you with Covid but trigger your immune system to recognize the Covid protein and fight off the virus before it can set itself in your body.
    Too many false and fear mongering out there with no facts to back it up. Do your research and see this vaccine will only help but for it to be effective people need to take it. Let’s do our part and stop this Covid.

    • Posted by Do tell on

      Thanks Peter!
      I agree – people do need to look into this!
      Peter – could you please tell me all the ingredients – since you’ve done your homework?
      Also, could the GN please make public the insert from the vaccine (so we can compare with Peter’s findings? This would contain all the ingredients and warnings about the vaccine – very beneficial for people who would like to make an informed decision!

      • Posted by Belly Laugh on

        I would like to nominate ‘Do Tell’ for comment of 2020….

      • Posted by Peter on

        My case in point GN, case study for you on the anti vacs and conspiracy theorists and fear mongers, read “Do tell” comments.
        These are the types that are spreading fear, false information to try and get people not to take the vaccine, just doesn’t help our society.
        Get more information out about this vaccine so people can make a informed decision for themselves.
        I have to agree Belly Laugh ? it sure is silly and laughable but unfortunately some might take his side. So GN, get some good information out there.

  2. Posted by Announce what vaccines will mean on

    Can I skip the hubs and get out of here once vaccinated? That’s the only information I really care to know.

    • Posted by Douglas Brunet on

      If you’re not on the phase 1 priority list, don’t count on ‘getting out of here’, wherever that may be , anytime soon. If you’re that desperate to get back up north, you’ll need to get to the hub that fits your wants. That’s just the way it is. We should all be glad that this is even happening as soon as it is.

      • Posted by Not what was asked on

        The question was very simple and I’d like to know too. If I am vaccinated in January as a healthcare worker, will I be given a vaccination passport and be able to skip isolation hubs? If not, why not? When?

        • Posted by RU SeriOOus? on

          Consider that this is the comment section of Nunatsiaq News, if you are serious about those questions you must realize this isn’t the best place to be asking.

          • Posted by Serious af on

            Consider that the premier and the GN have time for a photo op but no time to provide these basic details or to even bother vaccinating people with available supply for a week. The Nunatsiaq comments section is reviewed religiously by GN comms teams so it is only appropriate to post these kinds of qs here.

  3. Posted by Eskimo Joe on

    Nunavut can rest now that we have six-thousand vaccines. Will we folow Article 23 for distribution?

    • Posted by Caution on

      We definitely cannot rest now. With numbers so high in the south, our guard should be up even more. After the holidays, with so many coming back from the south, we should be extra cautious, wear masks, not gather in large numbers and make sure we social distance. Hopefully by the spring/summer, the protection provided by the vaccine will be in effect. We will not have this protection for most of the winter and especially not January.

    • Posted by Article 23? on

      How does article 23 apply here?

    • Posted by iThink on

      Eskimo Joe’s suggestion here, that Inuit should be prioritized for vaccination over non-Inuit, shows how a system that not only emphasizes identity, but places it in a moral hierarchy, inevitably has a corrupting effect that, though unintended, leads to total moral bankruptcy.

  4. Posted by Jamisee on

    I wonder how much FedEx is making off distributing the vaccines across Canada. I’ve seem photos of their aircraft at airports in other provinces, delivering the vaccine. I’m assuming they have a contract with the feds?

    • Posted by Why o’ why o’ on

      So what?

      • Posted by Sam on

        Happy new year all you keyboard warriors

    • Posted by Andy on

      You have to set your priorities straight. Who cares how much it costs to ship and contributes the vaccine, it will save lives, and that’s all that counts

  5. Posted by Protect and serve on

    Why is the local government ignoring the National Advisory Committee on Immunization findings and not establishing a phase 2 priority group for other essential workers? There were many people that stayed at their post and continued to serve the people of Nunavut throughout the public health emergency. Where is the consideration for the sacrifices they made?

    • Posted by On a seaplane on

      The considerations for workers who were forced to stay at their post by the GN were left in Arviat with the premier when he had the Minister of Health grant him an exemption to the hub quarantine requirements to fly his seaplane from Manitoba and take a vacation. Meanwhile that kind of conduct gets people fired in Ontario as is the case with a vacationing finance minister.

  6. Posted by Concerned on

    Similar to other southern provinces, tell us: which GN health and related bureaucrats are currently on vacation? Whose been allowed to travel?
    Is this why there are no vaccinations yet happening to the most vulnerable in Canada , bad staffing in health centers and no news conference til Tuesday. Dr. Mike is all alone with our premier.
    Transparente communication is deserved by our people.

    • Posted by gearld on

      And when are health care workers and elders getting their shots,yellowknife started 3 days ago.

  7. Posted by L’ill Inuk on

    Is this the vaccine that has to be stored at the low temperatures and if so did the three hour flight from from Ottawa have any affect on it seeing as it was just carried in the cargo hold of the plane.

    • Posted by Google is ur friend on

      The answer is no

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