The first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Nunavut Wednesday on a scheduled Canadian North flight, though it will be another week before the territory announces details on how they will be distributed.
Nunavut officials confirmed that the territory received 6,000 doses in this first, two-part shipment to the territory, a number Premier Joe Savikataaq last week said he expected when the vaccine was approved for use by Health Canada. Half of the doses were sent to Iqaluit and half were sent to Rankin Inlet, where they are scheduled to arrive shortly.
Today, Savikataaq said the vaccine arrival marks an important step in fighting COVID-19.
“We still have to social distance and all the public health measures we have to do, but today is a very good day and I’m so glad the vaccine is here now for Nunavummiut,” he said.
Yukon and Northwest Territories each received 7,200 doses on Monday and plan to begin vaccinating residents early in the new year.
The Nunavut government said it is planning a news conference for Jan. 5 to announce the details of its vaccine rollout plan.
“Three thousand doses have arrived here in Iqaluit, with another 3,000 on their way to Rankin [that] should be there sometime later today. This is an excellent beginning in getting back to a normal life for Nunavummiut,” Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson said after the vaccines had arrived at the airport.
“We’ve been told to expect shipments roughly every three weeks.” he said.
Last week, he said distribution wouldn’t take place until the first weeks of January. He said elders and workers in long-term care will be vaccinated first.