Immunization rates for Nunavimmiut aged 12 and up, by community, as of Aug. 22. (Image courtesy of NRBHSS)

Nunavik’s vaccination rate on the rise, but ‘efforts must be increased’ says health board

As of Aug. 22, 44 per cent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated

By Sarah Rogers

Nunavik health authorities say they’ve vaccinated another eight per cent of the region’s eligible population over the months of July and August.

In early July, 36 per cent of Nunavimmiut aged 12 and up had received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. As of Aug. 22, 44 per cent of the eligible population is now fully vaccinated, the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services said in a Sept. 14 release.

The health board continued the region’s vaccination campaign over the summer through walk-in appointments at local health clinics and targeted youth vaccine clinics at Nunavik’s schools.

The Red Cross also deployed two teams throughout the region in August to promote immunization.

But health officials acknowledge they’re still far from meeting their immunization goals for the region.

“Efforts must be increased to reach the 75 per cent target,” said board spokesperson Josee Legault.

“The vaccine is still available for those who want it.”

Immunization levels vary greatly among Nunavik’s 14 communities: 65 per cent of Kuujjuaraapik residents are fully vaccinated while just 29 per cent of Akulivik residents have received two doses.

Starting at the beginning of the month, Nunavik followed Quebec’s lead in requiring residents aged 13 and up to show proof of vaccination to enter certain locations or events.

Similarly, any travellers to Nunavik must show proof of vaccination in order to avoid quarantine requirements in the region.

Residents can download the Vaxicode app or download a QR code on paper here.

The Nunavik health board recently announced new rules that will, starting Oct. 15, require visitors to the region’s health and social service centres to be fully vaccinated.

Those rules don’t apply to the father or partner of a woman in childbirth, who can attend the delivery regardless of their immunization status. Similarly, parents accompanying their child to the hospital or emergency room do not need to be fully vaccinated.

Nunavimmiut who need assistance getting proof of vaccination can contact the region’s COVID-19 health line at 1-888-662-7482. Nunavimmiut who were vaccinated outside of the region can call 1-877-644-4545 for help.

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