Almost 300 NWT residents have received both doses of the Moderna vaccine.
However, the majority of residents still await their first dose.
Dr. Kami Kandola, chief public health officer was joined by Dr. AnnMarie Pegg, territorial medical director, in a virtual media briefing on Feb. 10.
Dr.Pegg says there is strong evidence from the National Advisory Council on immunization that suggests receiving the second dose of the vaccine outside of the 42-day window “doesn’t count as delaying it.”
“People shouldn’t be too stressed out if their vaccination card has one date on it, and they get their second dose a little bit later,” she adds.
Health officials say residents will receive the second dose closer to the 42-day mark to maximize vaccine supply.
“You will not have to restart vaccines if your second dose is late,” says Dr. Kandola.
The Northwest Territoires Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA) has started scheduling its second round of appointments.
Appointments are available from Feb. 11th to Feb. 18th in 11 remote communities–to receive either their first or second dose.
Dr. Kandola says even with the recent shortage of vaccines, the GNWT has enough to follow through with the updated vaccine schedule.
Health officials say the fourth shipment of the Moderna vaccine, scheduled to arrive on Feb. 22, has been impacted by the shortage of vaccines across the country.
“We are waiting to hear from the federal government on details,” says Dr. Kandola, and that things are still unclear as to what the extent of those impacts might be.
Southerners return home
Gahcho Kue mine temporarily suspended operations after a recent surge of cases were identified earlier this month.
Dr. Kandola confirmed that out of the 330 employees only 130 still remain at the site, leaving 70 NWT residents to isolate.
The rest of the employees will be repatriated back to the south, she adds.
The GNWT says they are working with several other provinces to “safely transport” southern workers back home.
“We are cautiously optimistic the situation at the mine has stabilized,” says Dr. Kandola.
In precaution, additional surveillance tools will be used to ensure a faster response to a potential outbreak, she adds.
Health officials say there is no risk identified to the communities.
There are a total of six confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the mine.