Nunavut to receive Moderna vaccine in early 2021

Federal government will provide enough vaccine for 75 per cent of territory’s population

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, says highest-risk individuals, such as residents and caregivers in elder homes, will get vaccinated first. (File photo)

By Meagan Deuling
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Nunavut will get enough of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to inoculate 75 per cent of the territory’s adult population in the first three months of 2021.

Premier Joe Savikataaq said during a Friday news conference that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “assured him” of this yesterday during a first ministers’ meeting.

The Government of Nunavut is working on a plan to deliver the vaccine across Nunavut and ensure it has the human resources to inoculate people.

The Moderna vaccine, which health officials hope to have approved for use in Canada by year’s end, requires people to take two doses, several weeks apart.

The “highest-risk individuals” in Nunavut will get vaccinated first, said Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer.

That includes residents and caregivers in long-term care and elder centres, for example.

After that, the vaccine will be made available to all Nunavummiut who are at least 18 years old.

“We want to protect as many Nunavummiut as possible,” Patterson said.

Leaders of all three territories were promised enough of the Moderna vaccine to inoculate 75 per cent of their populations.

The Pfizer vaccine has already been approved for use in Canada, but its storage and transportation requirements make it unsuitable for the territories. It needs to be stored at temperatures below -70 C, while the Moderna vaccine needs to be stored at -20 C.

“We will have capability to store this properly in all the communities,” Savikataaq said.

Reduced isolation for some medical travellers

The GN introduced a program in November that allows some medical travellers to isolate for seven days instead of 14, Patterson announced today.

Up to 10 people a week have travelled on this program since it began, he said.

“This is not an opt-in program,” he said. Instead, health staff decide who’s eligible, choosing travellers who are going for one or two relatively quick appointments and are unlikely to be exposed to COVID-19.

As cases of the disease spike in southern Canada, this is an “effective way to reduce the chance of medical travellers being exposed,” Patterson said.

Travellers have to isolate in a government-run quarantine hotel, take government-run transportation from the airport and back and forth to appointments, and follow the rules of isolation, otherwise they have to stay in isolation for a full two weeks, Patterson said.

Rapid test results in Winnipeg isolation hubs

Rapid testing was introduced at the Winnipeg isolation hubs this week, because it is the highest risk area for COVID to enter Nunavut.

In the first 24 or 48 hours that rapid testing was available, 11 or 12 people entered the program, Patterson said.

One person tested positive.

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(15) Comments:

  1. Posted by Confused on

    What about the MAJORITY of Nunavut who are under 18 years of age, don’t they get the vaccine as well?

    • Posted by Sweety on

      The vaccines have not yet been fully tested in younger age groups and have only been confirmed safe and effective on adults.

      • Posted by Gary Ippiak on

        Stick to facts, under 18 ers should get proper dosage like they do in all other cases when needled good luck to everyone and I salute to all frontline workers and the poor people who has the Covid-19 virus I solemnly swear Amen

        • Posted by You Have Received the Facts on

          Ummm, you have received the facts — no vaccines are yet approved for children.

    • Posted by No Child Approval Yet on

      75% would be enough to cover the population for which the vaccine has been approved. There’s been no approval yet for children.

  2. Posted by Uvaali on

    More information would be helpful in making a decision to getting the shot for us ordinary folk who research a lot. What about those who have sensitive reactions to medications. Hope this vaccine will eliminate the virus.

    Heartfelt thanks to all the health care workers who, despite the risks continue to help those who are sick.

  3. Posted by “We want to protect as many Nunavummiut as possible,” Patterson said….REALLY ??? on

    Dr. Patterson may in his own mind think he has Nunavummiut “BEST” interest at heart, but with his wishy-washy approach with the isolation hubs, we better hope the vaccine arrives here sooner than later.
    All of these hubs pose the highest risk of Covid entering Nunavut because of their lack of implementing and enforcing the GN’S own rules for isolating in these hubs.
    Non stop parting, and social gatherings in the smoke area’s without wearing any mask or social distancing is an accident waiting to happen just like what happened in Winnipeg.
    The fact that one person in the HUB tested positive for Covid by Voluntarily getting tested should have been a wake up call for Patterson and the GN to immediately make this testing mandatory at ALL the isolation hubs.
    What makes Winnipeg hub and different from the one in Ottawa ? Except for the fact that maybe Winnipeg is not in enforcing any of its rules.
    Maybe the GN and Dr. Patterson should ask the Nunavut mining companies for advise when it comes to testing. They stated months ago they have tested over 10,000 staff since this Pandemic started, I would say they are closer to 20,000 or more by now. How many has the GN tested ??? 4,000 ??? 5000 ???
    I think the GN is wearing their Covid mask wrong. They need to stop wearing it over their eyes and pull it down over their noise and mouth…..TIME TO OPEN YOUR EYES !!

    • Posted by Stop on

      You are so negative and under educated on this topic. It’s a waste of characters on a paper, if there would be such thing in the 1 and 0 world. And since Christmas is around the corner, you even get a free advise: Using capital letters in your comments, does not make you smarter, it just confirms my first sentence. You are poisoning peoples thoughts; stop

  4. Posted by On The Other Hand on

    To be fair, the GN has no authority to enforce its rules in another jurisdiction, they rely on private companies.

    The security guards are in the difficult position of having a lot of responsibility, but have no more authority than the hotel guests.

    With the legal limitations that the GN faces they have done about as good a job as could be expected.

  5. Posted by NoVaccine4me on

    My entire immediate family will not receive the vaccine. That’s 16 of us. Wasting time and resources aiming for 75%. Good luck

    • Posted by Raven on

      Avani ilalimakkilu.

    • Posted by The Old Trapper on

      Why not?
      Is there any scientific reason that you won’t take the vaccine when it becomes available?
      Do you reject vaccines on religious grounds? Do you think that there are harmful ingredients in the vaccine? Do you think that the active ingredients in the vaccine are harmful? Do you think that this is all just a huge conspiracy? Where did you get your information from to make this decision?
      If you consider what knowledge has gone into creating the vaccine it is likely millions of hours of studying viruses, studying the human body, and it’s reaction to disease, scientific experiments, and analysis of the results. I personally can’t imagine having enough direct knowledge myself so I have to trust that others who know more are providing good, solid, truthful information. I do this by reading and listening to a number of sources and relying on those that are backed up by science. In the case of the coronavirus vaccines this means the stage 3 double blind trials which proved the efficacy and safety of the vaccine.
      How does not taking the vaccine fit into your world view? Why not take the vaccine? Why not try to protect your family from a deadly disease? I’m genuinely trying to understand why people hold this opinion.

    • Posted by Crystal Clarity on

      Smallpox, Diptheria, Measles, HPV, Mumps, Rubella ,Pertussis, Polio, Congenital Rubella, Tetanus, Homophilus Influenza, Rotavirus, Hydrophobia (Rabies), Yellow Fever, Hantavirus ….. these are examples of a handful of diseases for which vaccines have been developed and have saved literally over 20 million lives per year minimum, or prevented serious disabilities, congenital conditions which can’t be cured, etc…If you don’t want to take the vaccine because you are a medical expert , fine, but if you don’t really have any legitimate knowledge of vaccines you should just be quite because your drivel just muddies the water and might convince others not to take it based on absolutely no reliable scientific evidence. The misinformation which is rife on social media etc will be responsible for a lot of stupid decisions.

      • Posted by NoVaccine4me on

        Ok. I’ll try it maybe a month or so after you’ve had it. Keep me updated.

  6. Posted by Huckleberry on

    Nunatsiaq News should accept comments on any topic only during the mornings. We are more positive and thankful in the mornings. Thanks to all frontline workers and hard working scientist. This next topic of vaccine there’s some really good reads about previous vaccines, just google previous vaccines and their outcome.

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