Montreal clinic now booking vaccinations for Nunavik Inuit

2nd doses of vaccine now being offered in Nunavik’s 14 communities

Health-care workers welcome Kuujjuaq residents to the community’s first general vaccination clinic in February. Regional health authorities are now rolling out a second round of immunization clinics. (Photo by Isabelle Dubois)

By Sarah Rogers

Nunavik residents who are in the Montreal region can now register to get vaccinated for COVID-19 at an Inuit-specific clinic in the city.

A health agency in Montreal’s west end — the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux du centre-ouest-de-l’île-de-Montréal — is launching the vaccination clinic, set to open at the end of the week.

The Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services says Nunavimmiut can now call to book an appointment.

The clinic is located at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute auditorium in Montreal’s Verdun neighbourhood, and will offer service in Inuktitut, English or French, the health board said.

Appointments will be available on Mondays and Fridays, but must be made in advance over the phone by calling 1-888-588-3335.

The Nunavik health board said it’s also working with organizations in the city to arrange transportation to and from the clinic site, as well as to ensure Nunavimmiut living in the city’s shelter system can get vaccinated.

At home, Nunavik health officials recently launched the region’s second round of vaccination clinics, where health centres are now equipped with a new batch of 6,400 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Officials say all Nunavik adults have been offered their first dose of the vaccine, though only about half, about 5,000 people, have been immunized so far.

The Nunavik health board has ramped up its information campaign online and on local radio stations, and its health-care staff plans to hold longer vaccination clinics in each community to give residents ample time to come in.

Uptake has varied greatly from one community to the next, from as high as 65 per cent coverage in Kangiqsualujjuaq to about 30 per cent in seven other communities.

The health board is aiming for 75 per cent coverage, a level of coverage that health experts in Quebec have suggested is needed to offer communities proper protection from the virus.

Nunavik does not currently have any active cases of COVID-19.

Health board waits for directive on masks in Nunavik workplaces

The health board said it’s still waiting on clarity from the Quebec government following an April 8 announcement that makes it mandatory to wear masks at indoor workplaces at all times, in all regions.

Nunavik has been able to set some of its own region-specific restrictions during the pandemic, though this new directive comes from Quebec’s workplace safety commission.

“We asked the commission if the new directive applies to Nunavik and we are awaiting the answer,” the health board said on Monday.

“We also asked them that to inform employers of the region if it applies to Nunavik.”

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