Over 50% of Nunavut's adults have received 1st dose of COVID-19 vaccine

·2 min read
Premier Joe Savikataaq speaks at an update on government response to COVID-19 at the Legislative Assembly. The Nunavut government is preparing a plan to gradually reopen service that is expected to be made public next week.  (Jackie McKay/CBC - image credit)
Premier Joe Savikataaq speaks at an update on government response to COVID-19 at the Legislative Assembly. The Nunavut government is preparing a plan to gradually reopen service that is expected to be made public next week. (Jackie McKay/CBC - image credit)

This week, Nunavut surpassed the 50 per cent mark of adults in the territory who've received the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, according to Nunavut's chief public health officer.

Dr. Michael Patterson made this announcement at a news conference on Friday.

"This is great news, but one dose is not enough," Patterson said. He encouraged those who have got their first dose to contact their local health centres to book vaccine appointments for their second dose.

Most people who have got their first dose are getting their second, but not all says Patterson, which he says is standard for any two-dose vaccine. Health centres are following up with individuals who still need a second dose, Patterson said.

Pond Inlet was the last community in Nunavut to get a community-wide vaccine clinic. It's clinic started on Tuesday, so in four weeks — near the end of April — all communities in Nunavut will have had the chance to be fully vaccinated.

Changes to Arviat travel restrictions

Premier Joe Savikataaq congratulated Arviat for being COVID-free for the last six days. There are no active cases currently in the territory. There have been a total of 395 COVID-19 cases and four deaths.

The Kivalliq Inuit Association is holding its elections next month, Patterson said the government has created public health guidelines to ensure the community stays safe.

On Monday, travel in and out of Arviat will no longer require permission from the office of the chief public health officer, however those required to isolate must complete their isolation periods before they can travel.

There will be people in isolation until April 3.

Schools will move to a new stage in Arviat, after there are no longer people in isolation in the community.

Missed the press conference? Watch it here:

Patterson doesn't expect vaccines to be available for children for at least three more months because the research to ensure the vaccine is safe for children is still underway.

However, Patterson does recommend the vaccine for pregnant women. He says pregnant women have been allowed to get the vaccine since the beginning. He cited data, which he acknowledged was a few months out of date, that there have been more than 10,000 cases of pregnant women getting the vaccine.

In those cases, there has been no evidence it increases the risk of miscarriage or birth defects, but COVID-19 can cause complications for pregnant and breastfeeding women, so the vaccine is recommended.

There have been 19,669 doses of the Moderna vaccine administered in total as of the government's latest numbers posted Friday morning. Of those, 6,785 are second doses, Savikataaq said.