First batch of COVID-19 vaccines land in Nunavut
Moderna vaccine’s arrival a “big step in fighting the COVID-19 virus,” premier says
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.