500 new vaccine appointments opening in Yellowknife, priority groups expanded

·2 min read

Another 500 appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine will open in Yellowknife this week.

In a news release Monday, the N.W.T. Health and Social Services Authority said the appointments are opening up in the capital because of its large population.

The appointments are between Feb. 11 and 13 at Centre Square Mall.

The department has also expanded priority groups. Residents who are at least 18 years old can book appointments on a first-come, first-served basis, if they have one or more of the following medical conditions:

  • Lung disease (COPD, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis, moderate to severe asthma).

  • Heart disease (cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension, congenital heart disease, heart failure, coronary heart disease).

  • Uncontrolled or untreated hypertension (high blood pressure).

  • Diabetes with poorly controlled sugars.

  • Moderate to severe chronic kidney disease (especially those with kidney transplants or requiring dialysis).

  • Moderate to severe chronic liver disease (including fatty liver disease and cirrhosis).

  • Dementia.

  • Stroke.

In addition, residents who are immunocompromised from underlying medical conditions or from medications, residents who are obese (body mass index of 40 or higher), residents who are over the age of 60, or have an approval letter from the chief medical health officer, can also book an appointment to get the Moderna vaccine.

Rotational and priority workers who are over the age of 18 can also book appointments. They must bring their company identification and be in the following priority groups:

  • Mine workers whose job site is in a "congregate setting" with workers from outside the N.W.T.

  • Medevac pilots or flight crews who are N.W.T. residents.

  • Winter road support staff who interact directly with staff from outside the N.W.T.

  • Canadian Armed Forces members.

  • Taxi drivers.

Mario De Ciccio/Radio-Canada
Mario De Ciccio/Radio-Canada

Appointments can be made online through the health authority. Residents can also call Yellowknife Public Health to book an appointment at (867) 767-9120.

"More appointments will be opened up based on vaccine supply once these existing slots are filled," the statement said. "We are asking residents to be community-minded and let our most vulnerable get vaccinated first."

The N.W.T. currently has four active cases of COVID-19 in the territory. The Gahcho Kué diamond mine suspended all operations after six workers tested presumptively positive amid an ongoing outbreak at the facility this past weekend.

The N.W.T. is receiving fewer doses of the Moderna vaccine this month than originally expected, due to manufacturing issues at the company's plants. Health officials have been working to adjust the roll-out of the vaccine as a result.

Premier Caroline Cochrane maintained last week that she's still confident the N.W.T. can reach its long-term goal of vaccinating 75 per cent of eligible residents by March.