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Vaccine roll-out begins

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Canadian North had the pleasure of transporting Nunavut’s first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines. Ramp Coordinator Hunter Macdonald had the honour of offloading this precious cargo. © Colin Gibson

Canadian North delivered the first doses of the Moderna Covid‐19 vaccine to Nunavut via a scheduled flight to Iqaluit on December 30, 2020 and will continue to play a crucial role in transporting these vaccines to communities over the coming months. 

Premier Joe Savikataaq said the first shipment is targeted for front‐line workers, workers in long‐term care and their caregivers, and Elders. As the supply increases, the vaccine will be available to adult Nunavummiut in all communities, but this could take weeks or months. 

The territory received 6,000 doses in this first, two‐part shipment to the territory. Half of the doses were sent to Iqaluit and half were sent to Rankin Inlet. Another 6,000 does are expected to arrive in mid January. Vaccinations in Nunavut began January 6 at the Elders facility in Iqaluit and will continue with clinics in Gjoa Haven, Igloolik, Arviat, and Cambridge Bay in mid January. Chief Public Health Officer for Nunavut Dr. Michael Patterson said the Territory will be able to “administer at least 500 doses a day,” once the vaccination campaign is fully underway. 

Yukon and Northwest Territories each received 7,200 doses on December 28. 

In the NWT, people classified as the highest risk residents start receiving the vaccine in January, with the rest of the population receiving vaccinations starting in March. The NWT will receive its second shipment of 7,200 vaccines mid January as well, with two more shipments of 7,200 doses at three‐ to four‐week intervals before receiving its final shipment of more than 20,000 doses in mid‐March. Mobile vaccine teams of up to eight health care providers and support staff will deliver the vaccines to communities. 

Yukon’s vaccine strategy includes people working and living in long‐term care homes, group homes, and shelters; health care workers; elderly people; and people living in rural and remote communities as priority groups for the vaccine. 

The federal government expects enough doses of the Moderna vaccine to inoculate up to 75 per cent of each of the territories’ adult population over the age of 18 in the first three months of 2021. The Territories have been identified as a priority for vaccinations due to their remoteness and lack of health infrastructure.