Nunavut’s COVID-19 vaccine uptake around 50 per cent, says top doctor

Territory has enough vaccine doses to inoculate 75 per cent of its adult population

Nunavut’s chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, and Premier Joe Savikataaq gave an update on COVID-19 in the territory on Friday. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Mélanie Ritchot

About half of eligible adults across Nunavut have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson said in a news conference on Friday.

The Government of Nunavut is not releasing community-specific vaccination rates, but in communities with lower uptake, staff are continuing to do outreach to encourage people to get vaccinated, he said.

The last confirmed shipment of doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the territory last week, meaning Nunavut now has enough to inoculate 75 per cent of its adult population.

Patterson said the department is expecting more, but doesn’t know how many or when yet. He reiterated the goal is to get enough doses for everybody who wants the vaccine.

After all the communities’ mass clinics are done, people who want the vaccine will be put on a waitlist.

Since each vial of the vaccine contains 10 doses, appointments will be scheduled for 10 people at a time, so none go to waste.

“We have ethical responsibilities to ensure that we are vaccinated as quickly as possible while minimizing how much of the vaccine is wasted,” said Patterson.

So far, Patterson said “well under” five per cent of vaccine doses have gone to waste.

By April, each community will have had a vaccine clinic offering the first dose. Some have already received their second dose and others will get them in April.

As of March 19, 11,584 first doses have been given and 6,413 people have received both doses, meaning they’re fully vaccinated.

Patterson said it takes about two weeks for the full effects of the vaccine to set in, so officials will wait at least two weeks after the last vaccine clinic in the territory is done to consider easing public-health measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, like the isolation hubs.

So far, the isolation hubs have cost the Government of Nunavut $64 million, Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq said at the news conference, adding that the bulk of this has been reimbursed or covered by the federal government.

There are currently two active cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut, both in Arviat.

Friday was the fifth consecutive day without a new case announced in the territory.

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(11) Comments:

  1. Posted by eskimo joe on

    two cases lift down here in Arviat, everything is open again, many with no masks, bingos on-going, lot of drunks on CBs, store full of ppl, this thing is going to come back…I’m so fed up with ppl who do not obey, all four major stores are doing brisk business, and the local radio station is full of ppl buying bingo cards, half no mask on converging outside of the building like there’s no tomorrow. Nunavut stay clear of Arviat if you want to stay healthy and only 65% of adults are vaccinated from what I hear. Goodness.

    • Posted by whatever on

      so when a statement has in it “what i heard” it is safe to assume it is 100% fake news and alternative facts to serve that person’s point of view or as in this case ignorance.

      retail stores continue to do an awesome job with masks and sanitizer and the Bingo was advertised to purchase cards only while practicing social distancing with masks and sanitizer.

      work through your FEAR EJ, you will be ok.

  2. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    Might as well keep the quarantine hubs in place for the time being if only 50% of the adult population is going to get vaccinated.
    I’m not a virologist but I will bet that 50% is way below what it would take for non-vaccinated people to be protected due to herd immunity. Measles, which is very contagious, needs roughly 94% of the population vaccinated. Covid-19 is likely lower but is it 80%, 85%, 90%? No one knows at this point.
    Here’s the thing though. All of the current vaccines seem to offer a high degree (possibly 100%) protection against serious infection and death.
    So bottom line people. If you are not vaccinated you could get very very sick, with life long complications, such as loss of sense of smell, taste, shortness of breath, extreme fatigues, etc. Or death. Covid-19 still kills.
    You have a choice. Get vaccinated and don’t get sick and die. Or take your chances once the hubs go away, because you know that coronavirus is just waiting to infect everyone it can in Nunavut.
    As a bonus in addition to your vaccine you get a free microchip tracker from Bill Gates so we can pinpoint you out on the land if you get lost. (Just kidding).


    • Posted by Why u dum on

      I disagree, time to stop the hubs, stop punishing, start testing

      • Posted by The Old Trapper on

        Taking necessary actions to prevent a pandemic virus from infecting people, possibly giving them lifelong health complications, or death is hardly “punishing” people.
        I get it, you don’t like not being able to closely associate with your friends, or you don’t like to cover your nose and mouth with a piece of fabric when in public, or maybe you just don’t like to wash your hands. That’s basic hygiene, sorry if it’s such an onerous imposition on you.
        So you would like to get rid of the hubs, as Ontario’s coronavirus infections enter a 3rd (at least) spike. You would like to replace this with “testing”.
        Okay, I’m willing to listen, how would this work? Rapid tests do not appear to be reliable enough for departing passenger use. And if it was used it would simply mean that passengers need to arrive “somewhere” for testing at least a couple hours prior to departure, isolate, and wait for results.
        Considering that this is not going to find anyone just recently infected I’m not sure that it’s the way to safeguard every community in Nunavut.
        Let’s assume instead that we are using current testing technology with results 24 – 72 hours after testing. Again where are passengers waiting after they get tested, and under what conditions?
        Or do you just want them to produce a piece of paper saying that they’ve had a test in the preceding 24 – 72 hours and are negative, similar to passengers getting on an aircraft traveling to Canada. Where the person is then tested again when they arrive in Canada and test results may take up to 72 hours – while the passenger is quarantined in an approved hotel, at their own expense.
        So we get rid of the quarantine hotels at the hubs, and replace them with quarantine hotels in Nunavut?
        Yeah, good plan. We’ve seen the hubs fail at least once and Arviat is just now clear of Covid-19 (maybe).
        Heck I want this never ending nightmare to be over too, ASAP. The way to do it is to get everyone vaccinated. not 50%, everyone needs to get the vaccine.
        I know that we can’t make it mandatory but the GN, NTI, QIA, KIAx2 should all be out encouraging people to take the vaccine. Keep the hubs in place until all adults are able to be vaccinated. Anyone who doesn’t get vaccinated is entitled to the Darwin award they are able to win.

      • Posted by Northern Guy on

        The hubs aren’t going anywhere until at least 75% of the adult population is vaccinated. And if you plan to travel this summer you likely aren’t unless you have been vaccinated. If you haven’t yet heard of a “vaccine passport” you will very soon.

  3. Posted by Northern Guy on

    50% uptake is not nearly enough to assure herd immunity. Here are some realities. Do you want to travel outside the territory? Canadian North has already noted that they may require proof of vaccination as a prerequisite to boarding their aircraft. Do you want the hubs to go away? Again that won’t happen until public health is assured of herd immunity response. Do you want an end to the constant restrictions applied as a result of the public health emergency? If so THEN GET VACCINATED FOR PETE’S SAKE!

    • Posted by Sam on

      Hubs will be around for a long time yet,

  4. Posted by Paul on

    Why are the numbers so low? It’s been a couple months since the vaccine shots started.
    50% hopefully more will take it. 75% is not enough too, should be 90% at the very least.

  5. Posted by Arviatmuit on

    GN needs more rapid testing on all nunavutmuit , not only the community’s with COVID cases , more testing on the hub community’s ( rankin inlet , Iqaluit and Cambridge bay ) there must still be some hidden COVID cases in the territory.

  6. Posted by Bob the builder on

    GN needs more rapid testing on the people , not only when community’s have COVID cases , they should focus on the hub community’s ( Rankin Inlet , Iqaluit and Cambridge Bay ) there must be some COVID cases that are still floating around the community’s

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