Iqaluit mass vaccine clinic starting mid-March

All Iqalummiut over the age of 18 can get the vaccine starting March 15

Nunavut’s health minister Lorne Kusugak announced that all Iqalummiut over 18 will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine as of mid-March. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Mélanie Ritchot

Iqaluit’s much-anticipated mass vaccine clinic for everyone over the age of 18 will kick off on March 15, Health Minister Lorne Kusugak announced in the legislative assembly on Friday.

So far, COVID-19 vaccines have been allotted in the territorial capital to priority groups, including older residents, front-line health workers and shelter residents, because the city’s large population meant there weren’t enough doses for all adults to get a vaccination.

People can make appointments starting March 10. Kusugak asked that people wait until then before calling so public-health officials can complete vaccines for the current priority group, which now includes those 45 years and older.

As of Thursday, 8,628 Nunavummiut have received at least one dose of the Moderna vaccine and 5,125 are fully vaccinated.

Kusugak said by the end of the month, each community in the territory will have had clinics for at least the first dose of the vaccine.

Dr. Michael Patterson, chief public health officer, said Nunavut will receive about 37,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine by the end of March, in a news conference on Thursday. This is enough to vaccinate 75 per cent of the adult population of 19,000.

He confirmed vaccination clinics will continue into April.

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(25) Comments:

  1. Posted by 44 year old on

    Why such the large age window now?

    • Posted by anon on

      Because they have enough vaccine doses available or on the way that they can start mass vaccinating.

      If the shipments had continued to be smaller than anticipated, they probably would have continued vaccinating by age group or other status.

    • Posted by Vaccine on

      Because some communities have a lot of left over vaccines that were not used. Just over 8 thousand people received their first does (including Iqaluit) and only 5 thousand for their second does.
      It would be interesting to see these numbers broken down to see which communities that have a very low turnout rate for taking the vaccine.

      • Posted by Info on

        Where can we get the info on the numbers of people who got their first and second vaccine by communities?

  2. Posted by A wondering individual on

    I wonder why school staff was given no priority like the did in the U.S.A. or the N.W.T? I guess Iqaluit doesn’t care about its school staff like it does its prison inmates.

    • Posted by Gather ’round students on

      It’s a good thing that “empathy” isn’t a teachable subject, you’d be out of a job.

    • Posted by Iqaluit on

      Iqaluit had nothing to do with how the vaccines are rolled out, genius. That’s health’s job.

    • Posted by Ryan on

      I think it’s impressive they’re getting it done so quickly, and you really don’t need anymore priority groups in this situation. Good job to Minister Kusugak, Dr. Patterson and the whole Health Department for getting Nunavut vaccinated so quickly. I’ll admit that I had my doubts that everyone would have received a shot by the end of March, but they proved me wrong! Keep up the great work!

  3. Posted by Tim Smith on

    Thank you Mr. Ford!

  4. Posted by Qavvigarjuk on

    Wow I am so happy to hear that! We will be getting the higher vaccination rate per capita compared to all the provinces!!! People get vaccinated please, we are so fortunate compared to most of the world at the present. It is a safe vaccine. Most adults in the kivalliq received both doses now, we are OK.

  5. Posted by Larry on

    Four more years,Go Lorne

  6. Posted by Non starter on

    Did anyone else have the misfortune of calling a voicemail today for a single GN employee that was full? Good planning.
    Lorne I won’t have an appointment by the end of the month and the promise that I would have that will be broken.
    How can public health be so naive to think that several thousand iqaluit residents can be booked with this system? One voicemail inbox where they call you back? A high school level programmer could have set up a website for this.
    Them working 1-7pm and less on weekends suggests there is no urgency either. Why is this not running 24/7?
    Typical GN incompetence.

    • Posted by stick on

      I called late yesterday (March 10), and was prompted by a recorded message to leave my name, date of birth and contact info. The message said someone would call back in 72 hours. They called me this morning, about 12 hours later, and my appointment is in 10 days. My coworkers all had similar experiences. You likely called the wrong number because you didn’t read the notice correctly. I made that mistake too, but then I calmly reread the notice. At the very bottom of the announcement put out by the GN, it has the contact info for the Communications Manager for the Dept. of Health, 975-5949. This is NOT the number to call for your vaccine booking. The announcement says “Call 867-975-4810 to make an appointment.” That is the correct number…975-4810. If you got the voicemail of a single GN employee, you called the wrong number. The system is working just fine. Maybe don’t panic. Down south, they are barely able to vaccinate 85 year olds right now. It seems like it is going much better and more quickly than in other parts of the country.

      • Posted by I’m not an idiot on

        I dialed 4810. I called it 25 times between 830 and 10. Mailbox full. Every one of my coworkers who didn’t call in twice did not get a call back. They had a full mailbox at 4810 and then must have deleted them all. I am calm and collected. It is just a terrible rollout and I’m free to criticize them.
        Why are they running this less than 8 hours a day? No worries here! No urgency to get vaccinated if you’re not a senior I guess.

        • Posted by Sheesh on

          Holy cow. So you and your co-workers panicked and scrambled to get through for the first hour and a half they were opened. And because you couldn’t get through for the first hour and a half, it’s a terrible roll out? There is enough for everyone! Calm down. You seem like someone who shoves and grabs carts full of toilet paper when there’s no need. You couldn’t get through for the first hour and a half. Okay, well the whole town has been waiting for a year, so of course it was full. Everyone was calling in like they were trying to be the first caller to win a prize at a radio station. It is a town of 8000 and you want a call centre? If you had calmly tried again in the afternoon like I and my coworkers did, you would have had appointments within a day. You sound like someone’s great-aunt, frantically clicking the mouse and getting annoyed because the computer freezes.
          There have been a lot of pandemic wins. There have also been some blunders, but this isn’t one of them.

          • Posted by Logical fallacy on

            Do you actually have anything to say to the points about why they had a failing system on day one despite a year to prepare or why emergency vaccinations are rub less than a business work day?
            You seem to only try to attack the commenter rather than address the points. It is almost as if you have a personal stake in defending public health. Hmm.

            • Posted by Healthy on

              I don’t work for health. But I appreciate all they’ve done to keep us safe from Covid. And I appreciate that I will have both shots in the next few weeks. I must have missed the announcement that said everyone would have an appointment by 10 am on March 10th.

        • Posted by laughs on

          You: “I am calm and collected”
          Also you: ” I called it 25 times between 830 and 10″

          Thanks for the laugh. There’s enough vaccine for everyone. Down south they have just announced that 80 year olds may get the vaccine. You will have the vaccine before almost any non-senior in the country. I would hardly call the messaging system being jammed up in the first half-day because of people like you “incompetence”.

          • Posted by People like me on

            If it is not incompetence I guess you call a failed system complete success?
            Address what I said. They took voicemails and then deleted them. They ask for a call back to the same number for voicemails. People who didn’t call in twice didn’t get booked. I imagine you, like many GN employees at Health, know half measures and ‘good enough’ is all in a day’s work. At other departments being slack and poor planning have consequences on performance reviews.

            • Posted by Healthy on

              I don’t work for health. If I did, I’d be too busy deleting voicemails to reply.
              They said everyone would be vaccinated within a short timeframe. They didn’t say you’d be taken care of in the first hour and a half. Address what I said. There is enough for everyone. You probably have an appointment by now. Perhaps a round of voicemails did get deleted due to human error. Guess what? The websites are crashing down south too. The difference is, you will probably have your first shot by the end of the month and your second in April, whereas elsewhere in the world, they will be waiting for months.
              Health hasn’t been a perfect during this pandemic, but they have kept Inuit and all others in Baffin region safe from Covid, and that is amazing. If you only look out for imperfect people to make a mistake, you will always get what you’re looking for. Getting our vaccines by April is a win.

            • Posted by panic! on

              I wouldn’t call it a “failed system” because everyone has been able to get appointments if they want them. You weren’t able to get yours in the first hour and a half. A failed system wouldn’t be able to produce results. I wouldn’t call it a complete success I guess because human error is very real but in this case its been minimal.

        • Posted by Ian on

          Must be nice to be able to call 25 times between 830-10 great job you and your coworkers have who is paying your wages, the gn.

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      Typical entitled attitude of so many Iqalummiut. “I tried between 8:30 and 10 on the morning of the announcement and I didn’t get through so it must be a failure.” And the rather than being patient and keep trying you go onto media and no doubt social media to whine and complain. If you put half the effort you exerted whining into actually booking a time slot you’d be vaccinated already.

  7. Posted by Under Siege on

    I am grateful to the folks at the Iqaluit branch of the Nunavut Health Department. I called, left a message, and that same day they called me back and we made an appointment (I am over 45). The staff that administered the shot were friendly and took the time to answer any questions I had; I was in and out of there quickly. Great job guys!

  8. Posted by Northern Guy on

    When I tell my friends and relatives down south that I have received my first jab and will be getting my second in early April they are absolutely gobsmacked. My mother is well over 70 and has chronic COPD and she still has no idea when she will be vaccinated. Kudos to the GN and Department of Health, they have done a stellar job rolling out the vaccine.

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