Iqaluit to see second round of COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Residents 65 and over and anyone living or working in a shelter can now book appointments

With 12,000 more doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine – like the ones that arrived in December – expected in the territory by mid-February, additional clinics will be announced in the coming days, says Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer. (File Photo)

By Dustin Patar

Iqaluit residents 65 years of age and older, and anyone living or working in one of the city’s shelters, will be able to receive COVID-19 vaccines beginning on Monday, Jan. 18.

The news comes after Nunavut’s chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, announced during a news conference on Tuesday, Jan. 12, that the territory expects to receive another 12,000 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine by the middle of February.

The first 6,000 of those doses are expected to reach the territory this week.

Vaccinations in Nunavut began last week at the elders centre in Iqaluit and have continued with clinics starting in Gjoa Haven and Igloolik Monday.

According to Patterson, as of Monday evening just over 400 Nunavummiut had received the first dose of their vaccination, and none has encountered any serious adverse reactions.

“It’s encouraging and we’re hoping to build on those successes,” said Patterson.

Although some communities have opted to hold their clinics on a walk-in basis, others, such as Cambridge Bay, have seen almost 60 per cent of all adults make vaccination appointments, said Premier Joe Savikataaq.

Health Minister Lorne Kusugak made an impassioned appeal to residents to receive vaccinations.

“Not that long ago, we had square dance competitions, community feasts, community events where everybody, old and young, got together and enjoyed each other’s company. We were able to participate in hockey tournaments and soccer tournaments and life was good … Now we can’t say hi to each other, we have to stay six feet apart and all wear masks,” said Kusugak.

“If we don’t take the vaccine and follow the recommendations of health professionals, 2021 won’t be much different than 2020.”

With cases and hospitalizations in the rest of Canada continuing to climb, Kusugak also expressed his concern that this could have implications for Nunavut.

“If this virus should spread rampantly across this territory, where are we going to send patients?” he asked.

Ontario is facing the prospect of its hospitals becoming overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases. If this happened to hospitals that currently provide medical treatment to Nunavut residents , the territorial government would seek to send residents elsewhere, said Patterson.

Although Patterson acknowledged that some procedures and surgeries have been postponed, he isn’t aware of any Nunavummiut being denied medevac or emergency services in the south.

Kusugak said that the uncertainly in the south is another reason to get the vaccine.

“Even if you don’t believe in it, you should get it for the sake of those that you are going to be close to and that you could pass it on to,” he said.

With the news that more doses of the vaccine will be arriving by mid-February, Patterson says that additional clinics will be announced in the coming days.

He also said that other priority groups, such as those in correctional facilities, would likely be included in the next round of vaccinations in Iqaluit.

Residents in one of the priority groups can call Iqaluit Public Health at 867-975-4810 to book a vaccination appointment.

The first clinic will be held from Jan. 18 to 22 at Iqaluit Public Health, with appointments available between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The second clinic will be held on Jan. 23 at the Qikiqtani General Hospital clinic side, with appointments available between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

For more information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, including community-specific information and vaccination schedules, visit the Government of Nunavut’s website.

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(13) Comments:

  1. Posted by Antivax disease on

    We can blame social media for spreading antivax propaganda, but the elephant in the room that these elected officials don’t want to address are the pseudo Christian cults that have been in Nunavut for a while now. The JW, the evangelical sects, etc. have no business giving their vulnerable followers medical advice, but they do and it should be criminal.

  2. Posted by Paradigm Shift on

    The roll out seems to me at least to be going fairly well, and the timing seems reasonably quick. The logistical challenges all across the country are very real. Granted, I expect some people will not agree.

    Given all this I am reminded here of our MP’s office posting a (mis)leading question on her social media in early December implying that as northerners we would be receiving vaccination last in Canada. As often is the case the truth was in the details and the question probably not have been framed the way it was, let alone asked at all.

    When confronted about the obvious misleading nature of the ‘question’ our MP’s staff simply replied that they were “trying to start a conversation”. Right… they should have been spending their time educating and informing, not needlessly exploiting grievance and stirring up anger.

    • Posted by Name names on

      Who are you talking about? Quotes?

      • Posted by Paradigm Shift on

        Our MP is Mumilaaq Qaqqaq. Her “office” means the staff that were running her social media accounts (twitter and facebook) when she was on leave over the past couple months. Go see for yourself it is all still up. The interesting thing is that there was quite a bit of push back on the FB posting (mostly Nunavummiut), but almost unanimous support and outrage on twitter (obsequious, fawning and largely clueless followers from the south who couldn’t be bothered with context).

        • Posted by Here’s the quote on

          The Federal Government’s plan for the new #Pfizervaccine means that it must be delivered to rural and Northern communities last. Do you think it’s okay for #Nunavut to be near the bottom of the COVID vaccine list? Why/Why not?

          -MQ Office

      • Posted by This is the Quote on

        The Federal Government’s plan for the new #Pfizervaccine means that it must be delivered to rural and Northern communities last. Do you think it’s okay for #Nunavut to be near the bottom of the COVID vaccine list? Why/Why not?

        -MQ Office

  3. Posted by Hospital Awareness on

    Keep the schools at half capacity and restrictions in place! There is gonna be no space for us in southern hospitals if the virus gets here again!

  4. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    You can lookup my older comments prior to the vaccines being available that Nunavut would get the Moderna vaccine as it did not have the infrastructure to handle the Pfizer vaccine.
    I also laid out what I thought would be the priorities; senior centres, front line medical professionals, other seniors, people with other medical conditions (diabetes, obesity, breathing issues), then the balance of adults. This is exactly how the GN is proceeding, and how they should proceed.
    Teens, children, and pregnant women will be last, and they will probably of necessity wait until after stage 3 trials take place on their demographic.
    As far as sending patients south, most provinces waited too long to lock down. Those that were first, and toughest (outside of Atlantic Canada which has and continues to do well), are now improving. There will still be some issues but look at the progress of Manitoba that locked down on 12NOV20, they have gone from a high of 486 new infections on 28NOV20 to 92 new infections yesterday.
    Alberta & B.C. cases are coming down, and Ontario and Quebec will follow suit. It takes about 3 weeks to see the effects of lock downs and other measures. Christmas & New Years activities are providing a bump in the wrong direction but by the end of January southern Canada should be reaching a stable or downward trend in all provinces – provided they keep the current measures.
    By the start of summer we will see that we are near the end but to get there we have to make sure that we continue to follow the rules. Masks on, physical distancing, no handshakes, wash your hands. Be very careful. You don’t want to have come all this way and then get sick and die.
    Stay safe.

  5. Posted by Ugh on

    The Atlantic provinces are saying that quarantine will be required even if you have the vaccine. As if it doesn’t matter. Nunavut will likely follow suit. There goes the main incentive for many people to get the vaccine.

    • Posted by anon on

      That’s because the vaccine will prevent you from getting COVID, or keep you from getting severe COVID if you do become infected, but it isn’t certain yet whether it will keep you from spreading the virus. Continuing the quarantine makes sense.

    • Posted by The Old Trapper on

      I would expect quarantines, mask wearing, social distancing to continue well into the vaccination effort, and even possibly for some time afterwards as well.
      There are three reasons for this.
      First people intentionally lie, even about something as serious as whether they are sick with coronavirus. We have seen this multiple times throughout this pandemic, as a matter of fact right from the start when people were returning to Canada on government sponsored flights people who were knowing sick lied to get on the flights. They put everyone else on the flight in jeopardy.
      Second, people simply ignore preventative measures, or think that it doesn’t apply to them. How many times have we seen the now sick or dying Covid-19 patient on TV say that they thought that Covid-19 was a hoax, or that it wouldn’t “get” them. And many have the gall to “warn” the rest of us! I’ll let them in on a secret – I took it serious from the start.
      Third, the vaccines are 95% effective at preventing serious Covid-19 illness – not necessarily the coronavirus infection. It is possible that you could be infected and able to spread the virus even after getting the vaccine. Science is still out on this issue.
      Pfizer does say that their vaccine is only roughly 50% effective after the first dose, and does not attain the 95% mark until at least a week after the second dose. We are now seeing a fair number of infections at senior care centres where only one dose has been given.
      For now be safe. Follow the rules and guidelines. It really isn’t that tough and in 6 to 9 months if we follow the rules, most of this will be behind us.
      One last thought, seasonal flu has been almost non existent because of the increase in mask wearing and social distancing. Maybe people should consider wearing a mask whenever they have a cold or flu symptoms.

  6. Posted by Mum’s The Word on

    Hold on a second here… the MP talked about something other than genocide or houses that were destroyed by tenants who live there citing it to be part of systemic racism?

    • Posted by Lookie Lou on

      Our MP is currently on a campaign to have the ‘proud boys’ declared a terrorist group… but has not said a single word about the Nunavummiut lives lost to covid. Not a word to comfort the families or communities. Let that sink in for a bit… I mean it.

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