Quebec government puts Nunavik at front of line for COVID-19 vaccines
Region’s leaders reluctant to go first and “would rather wait for southern cities and regions to get started,” says director of public health
Although Nunavik residents will be among the first offered the COVID-19 vaccine, Nunavik’s director of public health says many in the region are hesitant about it.
“Some local stakeholders have expressed the preference to not be the initial recipients of the vaccine and would rather wait for southern cities and regions to get started,” stated Dr. Marie Rochette in an email to Nunatsiaq News.
The Quebec government made the announcement about vaccine distribution earlier this week. Residents of isolated communities, including Indigenous ones, will be prioritized alongside seniors in long-term care homes and health-care workers.
Isolated communities are prioritized, given most have no intensive care facilities, very few hospital beds and many people who are vulnerable to respiratory diseases.
The government expects to begin deploying its first round of vaccines at long-term care facilities in Montreal and Quebec City as early as next week.
The Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services said it’s preparing for a rollout in early 2021.
Rochette said the health board will share information about the vaccine through social media and radio, and field questions and concerns from people in the communities.
“Our objective is to start vaccination when the stakeholders, communities and health centres are ready,” she stated.
“Within the realm of what would be the best approach for the health of Nunavimmiut.”