Vaccine QR codes coming to Nunavut this month

Ministers talk mandating shots for travel, GN employees and booster shots

Nunavut residents vaccinated against COVID-19 will soon have new QR codes to prove they’re vaccinated. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Mélanie Ritchot

Nunavummiut who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will get QR codes to prove it in a matter of weeks if all goes as planned.

Health Minister Lorne Kusugak made the announcement in the legislative assembly on Thursday, in response to a question from Adam Arreak Lightstone, the MLA for Iqaluit-Manirajak.

In an interview on Friday, Kusugak said the codes will replace the current method to prove vaccination, which is a letter from the chief public health officer.

The codes can be scanned from a mobile device or on paper, he said, adding personal identification, like a drivers licence, might need to be shown to accompany the code.

“It’ll be specific to you as an individual, you won’t be able to give it to your unvaccinated cousin, for example,” said Kusugak.

Nunavummiut will be able to use their code to travel back into Nunavut from other provinces or territories.

They will also allow people to enter businesses like restaurants, for example, in jurisdictions that require them.

British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec have introduced QR codes, and Nunavik followed Quebec’s lead last week.

The Health Department is not currently requiring proof of vaccination for people to enter private businesses or government buildings yet, but that could change.

“If all hell breaks loose and in November [for example], we’re saying in order to go for dinner or to a movie you need to prove vaccination, then those might come in handy at that time,” he said.

The logistics of rolling out the QR codes are still being worked out, but Kusugak said for now, all Nunavummiut need to do is get double vaccinated.

Kusugak maintained that QR codes will not be a “vaccine passport,” although that term is commonly used to describe similar proofs of vaccination.

It won’t allow for international travel, for example, which will depend on directions from the federal government.

Some jurisdictions in Canada are asking residents to get booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine — a third dose — but Kusugak said in the legislature on Thursday this isn’t the case in Nunavut for now.

“We are very closely monitoring what Canada is doing in terms of requiring booster shots,” he said.

In August, the federal government announced anyone travelling or working on a plane or train in Canada will need to prove they are fully vaccinated.

Other vaccination concerns brought up

On Thursday, Gjoa Haven MLA Tony Akoak asked Transportation Minister David Akeeagok whether the GN was consulted in this decision, since Nunavummiut rely on planes for travel between communities, to get medical care and to receive essential items.

David Akeeagok is the minister for transportation. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

Akeeagok said the GN was not consulted, but is asking the federal government what the new rule means for Nunavummiut.

“If they’re going to enact that in October, we need to make sure there are answers,” he said. “We need to know immediately.”

The federal government also announced last month all federal public service employees must be vaccinated to return to in-person work.

Baker Lake MLA Craig Simailak asked Akeeagok, who is also the minister for human resources, whether this would be implemented for GN workers, specifically for front-line health-care staff and school employees.

Akeeagok said the department is consulting health experts to see whether this would be feasible or necessary to protect the health of the broader public.

“I don’t have a firm answer today,” he said, adding the department does not currently track how many employees are vaccinated.

As of Friday, 72 per cent of Nunavut’s eligible population has now received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the GN.

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(27) Comments:

  1. Posted by Division on

    This is a sick manipulation and is going to create more division and hate. It does not make sense. Vaccinated people can still spread it. There are other ways to protect yourself from Covid. Enough is enough. Time to stop the control and let people be.

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    • Posted by True that! on

      This has never been about health. It’s a manipulative and censored media tactic. Successfull, isn’t it!

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  2. Posted by Not good on

    It starts here. Where does it end? Fear spreading is not helping anyone. Stand up Nunavummiut and say enough is enough and we do not accept this. It is too much. Not everyone wants the shot and that is ok.

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    • Posted by Oh for god’s sake… on

      No, no it is not ok that not everyone wants their shot.
      This is not people declining breadsticks at a restaurant, this is someone chopping a hole in the bottom of their cabin on the communal boat.
      They say, “hey, its just my cabin, its my right to chop this hole in the boat. I am a good swimmer, and besides, water isn’t that dangerous anyway. Only old and feeble people drown when you drop them in the ocean.”

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      • Posted by Jim on

        It’s more like a slave ship that some slaves are trying to escape from. We are not the ones who forced anyone on the ship, and we will help as many others as possible make it back to the land where we belong.

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  3. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    Hopefully this will spur those who have not yet been vaccinated to arrange for this life saving vaccine.
    .
    Over 63 million doses of the vaccine have been given to Canadians with only 3,967 reported cases of serious effects. The chances of anything negative happening is very rare, and far less than Covid-19 infections, hospitalizations, or even deaths.
    .
    There have been over 1.5 million confirmed cases of Covid-19, with an estimated 77,000 ending up in hospital, over 14,000 being admitted to the ICU, and there have been over 27,000 deaths.
    .
    The vaccine may not prevent you from getting the coronavirus (Delta variant) if you are exposed to it, but it will likely keep you out of the hospital, out of the ICU, and out of the morgue.
    .
    If you are 12 or older and not yet vaccinated do it now!

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    • Posted by Confused on

      I’m vaccinated. Will probably get boosters also if it seems like the socially responsible choice at the time when they’re offered. But I don’t think I agree with requiring vaccination. I’m less supportive of vaccine passports.

      If people dont get vaccinated and get themselves sick and die then that’s a regrettable result of their own choices.

      Unvaccinated people aren’t a risk to vaccinated people if the vaccines are like 99% effective at preventing serious illness/death. I dont get the logic of vaccinated people being afraid of the unvaccinated. Vaccinate yourself. Encourage your family to get vaccinated if you’re worried about them. Maybe unvaccinated people can spread, but they cant spread and cause your death IF you’re vaccinated.

      People should get vaccinated. But I wouldnt force them too in this increasingly divided society. Vaccination seems to be the smart personal choice when you listen to different experts speak about risks of COVID v risks from vaccinations. But people often dont make the smart choice, never have, and never will (look at the comparative deaths caused by alcohol, cigarettes, overeating, etc.). People have to suffer their own poor choices.

      My lingering doubts relate to children under 12 and immunocompromised people (cancer patients, etc.). I think vaccines for children should be made available ASAP, and until then governments and parents have to protect children through other means.

      I do not think it’s reasonable to overhaul society to protect immunocompromised people because it’s not just COVID that they have to take precautions against. Even a cold can kill a seriously immunocompromised person.

      People say unvaccinated people are causing variants but wont the virus mutate regardless? COVID is never going to be fully eradicated. That’s what most seem to say.

      I dont want to wear a mask the rest of my life and I dont want to have all these limitations to my movement, congregation, and travel the rest of my life.

      Please dont take any of the above as an attack. I have questions.

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  4. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    The GN should at least plan for giving out a third dose, whether it is eventually approved or not. Be prepared.
    .
    Other countries are doing additional shots, in the U.A.E. they gave out two shots of Sinopharm early on, and are now following up with 2 shots of Pfizer-Biontech.
    .
    They also require PCR tests every 30 days for a “Green” status on their Covid-19 app for fully vaccinated individuals, more often for partially vaccinated (7-14 days) or unvaccinated individuals (3 days).
    .
    Green status allows you access to malls, stores, restaurants, gyms, hotels, parks, beaches, cinemas, etc. They are learning to live with Covid-19.
    .
    Provinces and territories need to look at what other countries are doing, and at what works.

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    • Posted by Keep it coming… on

      I will gladly take a 3rd, 4th and 5th shot! Keep jabbing me!

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  5. Posted by Old timer on

    Let’s just get the micro chip in or the number of the beast now 👹

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    • Posted by ty2si on

      I thought the same way. You won’t be able to buy or sell without an identification symbol. I think we are headed in that direction.

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  6. Posted by Make all Essential Services mandatory….. on

    Please make it mandatory for most essential services to get both vaccines. The services that the North cannot function without. Airport weather/radio, flight check-in/ground crew, store employees, water/sewage workers, GN/Hamlet/housing staff, etc…

    We do not want an outbreak similar to what happened with the NWT’s handgames. Sure we are a remote territory who everyone thinks a long shot for covid to go to small communities. But that also means more at risk for the ones in the north. Also, make it mandatory to seek medical attention to the provinces as there are way more cases/risks there then travelling to Yellowknife.
    If those essential workers do not want the vaccine. Then make sure they can find a route to claim EI for 6-8 month’s. Enough time to find another job where it won’t be required. As for provincial medical patients, if they do not want to take the vaccine, then go back to 2 weeks isolation with them covering 25% of the bill. In unemployed, make that 25% count towards their monthly expenses on EI/social assistance/etc. More incentives for them to get vaccinated and bring up the territorial vaccine count.

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  7. Posted by Lyle Wiebe on

    What, did our vets die for nothing fighting in WW2. Just so we could get a card if our own to travel, go shopping, or get medical. Wake up you are stirring up a pot of shit and when it boils over what do you think will happen

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    • Posted by Penda’s Fen on

      The vets you speak of were not fighting a libertarian culture war and would probably all have taken the vaccine without question or hesitation.

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    • Posted by Vet on

      Vets got all their vaccine before going to fight and they sure didnt die for us to be idiots and not get vaccine for a preventable sickness just because were scared of a needle.

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  8. Posted by Ian on

    Russian roulette, is safer than not getting your shots.

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  9. Posted by Inuk on

    Please get vaccinated if you can. You’re only keeping restrictions from happening if you’re not vaccinated. If you enjoy being around your big family. Get vaccinated. If you get sick with covid and don’t care. You go home and spread to all the love ones you so very much care about on fb and all social media. Take care of everyone around you by getting vaccinated. This who can’t get vaccinated will eventually get something cause science is happening every day. Listen to the science. Not what you think ur crazy cousin or uncle. Are they educated enough to tell you it’s no good?? Please tell me what education they have on the vaccine. Does it go against their religion? Is their religion going to stop covid from happening? I better shut up or I won’t stop rambling on and on about the unvaccinated.

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    • Posted by Doesn’t make sense on

      Telling people to get vaccinated so they help others feel safe doesn’t make sense. You can still spread it if you are vaccinated. That doesn’t change. This is propaganda that is pushing hate and division. It is not good for anyone to be under this much control. Be advocates for your own health and care.

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  10. Posted by Ann on

    Its a dry run to see how much resistance togovernment control. Demanding a unproven flu shot called a vaccination to protect you from the nonvacinated is unfounded. Sorry

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  11. Posted by tattoo coming up on

    gonna get that sh!t tattooed on the back of my neck, YAY!

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  12. Posted by articrick on

    Why not just get a Vaccine Passport then, seems like a whole lot of nothing for this QR code. I’ve had my 2 shots, they tell me I need more? Won’t be happening.

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  13. Posted by John W Paul Murphy on

    And let’s not forget to get our annual flu shot. Check your local health centre when the shots are available.

    These vaccines are specific to this virus.

    The flu shot is specific to the variations of the flu.

    Let’s hope that one day the scientists can come up with an all-encompassing vaccination so we don’t have to go into this all the time.

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  14. Posted by This is Crazy on

    Y’all know this has nothing to do with vaccines and everything to do with control right? once we give away the rights to our own bodies, then what? You might not care about a vaccine but next thing down the line you will care about, just wait and see. I keep wondering how far we’re going to go down this road before people realize what is going on big picture here. I guess only time will tell…

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  15. Posted by Mike more on

    The PCR test cant tell the difference between covid and delta or covid and the flu! Most of the deaths are from people being stuck on the ventilators machines while day shift and night shift nurses try to calculate how much opiates they need to keep you in a chemically induced coma while it vlows out your lungs. Its a bunch of medical malpractice

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  16. Posted by Jj on

    Remember the story where moses stayed in the wilderness 40 years? Because so many ov them they didnt want to be freed. Yahwey kept them there till the servents and dictated passed on before giving them a new home. Be careful on what side of history you stand. If you want to see what canada’s future is like look at who is being persecuted in china because canada is following suit. Its called the social credit system. And, if you think following the rules will keep you on top, sure, maybe for now. But be warned those that love the earth. We are here to live like kings, not servents and slaves.

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  17. Posted by Sometimes remembering on

    I remember years ago seeing a picture in the health center of an elder holding a child saying ‘i get my flu shot to protect you.’ And i remember thinking how rediculas a statement. I do t want anyone doing anything to their bodies for me. Then i realized the old lady in the picture never said that. Friggin fear and control games is all this is. Id rather get the flu, or chicken pox, or measles, or even whoopi g cough and be done with it. Glad all my family were exposed to these sicknesses and never needed vaccines. Only one who had a hard time was my mom with whooping cough because her dad smoked cigarettes inside the house when they were kids. My kids got natural immunity to all these well enough. Wash hands, clean your bum. As if uncarring fools around me. I, for one, give my friends and family more credit than that. And if there is some sick person in the mix, i take care of my own. Not for anyone elses opinions either. Call it selfish if you are pro restrictions. Individual choice is just that, CHOICE

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