Vaccinations begin in western, central Newfoundland

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Vaccines against COVID-19 have begun to be administered to people in other regions of Newfoundland, but Labrador residents won’t begin getting shots until next week.

The Central and Western health authorities posted images on Twitter Friday of health-care workers being vaccinated.

“We are so excited to share that the COVID-19 vaccinations have begun for high-risk staff in our region,” the latter said in a Tweet.

In Labrador, 2,400 doses of the recently arrived Moderna vaccine will start going into arms on Monday.

The health authority confirmed this week that the first priority is remote, fly-in Indigenous communities, with the Nunatsiavut government taking the responsibility of vaccinating residents of Inuit communities along the coast.

The schedule is as follows:

Jan. 11: Black Tickle, Norman Bay;

Jan. 11-15: Nain, Hopedale, Postville, Makkovik and Rigolet;

Jan. 18-22: Natuashish.

Labrador-Grenfell’s medical officer of health said Friday that some doses will also be administered to health-care workers next week, but the number will be limited because of supply and transportation logistics.

Ultra-deep freezers to store the Pfizer vaccine should be up and working in Labrador West and in St. Anthony within the next few weeks, Dr. Thomas Piggott said.

“We’re working closely with the province and we’ve been working hard around planning to make sure that it rolls out as fast and fairly as possible for our priority population,” he said. “We’re very confident that things are going to go well and quickly.”

Health Minister Dr. John Haggie said Wednesday that requirements to restrict Pfizer vaccines to point of arrival have been lifted. The company has given instructions on how to safely transport the product to other administration sites.

The Moderna vaccine can be kept at ordinary cold storage temperatures, but the Pfizer doses requires special freezers set to -70 C.

Peter Jackson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram