Medical lab technologist Angela Jantz receives her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Whitehorse hospital on Jan. 13. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)

Medical lab technologist Angela Jantz receives her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Whitehorse hospital on Jan. 13. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)

Online booking system for Moderna vaccine opens as mobile teams prepare to visit communities

“The goal is to protect everyone and stop the spread of COVID-19”

Eligible Yukoners will now be able to sign-up for a vaccination online through a new web portal as mobile teams prepare to deploy to rural communities.

As of Jan. 14, 685 people have been vaccinated in the territory.

“I’ve heard a very few people holding back or hesitating,” said Hanley. “But as we look forward, we have to acknowledge that while some are almost knocking down the doors to get vaccines, not everyone may be ready to step forward right now. That’s normal and we will continue to support you with what you need to get you to come forward.”

The website has bookings open now for all residents of Watson Lake, Beaver Creek and Old Crow as mobile teams prepare to travel to those communities next week. The online booking system is available at yukon.ca/this-is-our-shot or via phone at 1-877-374-0425.

Whitehorse residents over 70 years of age can also now book an appointment online. Vaccination will also continue for healthcare workers and people living in group settings such as the emergency shelter and Whitehorse correctional centre.

Asked if the government had any concerns about the vaccine supply, Silver said so far, things have moved quicker than expected rather than the opposite.

“As the supply chain management gets figured out internationally […] we have no reason to believe that in Yukon or the rest of Canada, that the medical teams right across Canada will not have the ability to get these vaccines in people’s arms as quickly and as safely as possible,” he said.

“I don’t see a lot of alarm to think that we’re not going to get our vaccines in the first quarter,” Silver said. “I do agree with Dr. Hanley, we might have to allow for some flex room for the distribution if we get those our final doses in the end of March compared to the beginning of March,” he said.

According to a federal government webpage, there are three vaccine shipments planned for the territory over the next two months. The territory will get three separate deliveries of 7,200 doses over the next two months.

Added with the initial December delivery, that means a total of 28,800 doses are scheduled for arrival in the territory before Feb. 28. The total number of expected vaccines, which would be enough to vaccinate 75 per cent of the adult population, is 50,400.

“I think a lot of people are really looking forward to [getting the vaccine] when it’s their time. There will be an opportunity for everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated when their turn comes,” Silver said. “The goal is to protect everyone and stop the spread of COVID-19.”

The Yukon still has two separate household clusters of COVID-19, with six active cases total. The 48 young people asked to self-isolate are out of isolation after a test confirmed a false positive.

Vaccinations begin for front-line healthcare workers

Vaccinations at the Whitehorse General Hospital started on Jan. 14 for frontline staff who work with patients that have potential to carry COVID-19.

So far, after one day of sign-up being available, 60 per cent of hospital staff have already signed up for the vaccination, said James Low, a director at the hospital. All the hospital’s physicians – 55 in total – have signed up.

Doctor Ryan Warshawski spoke to reporters prior to getting his shot on Jan. 13.

“Everyone’s very excited about this,” he said.

“The other day I was in a room with a COVID positive patient. So it’s just one more layer of protection. It doesn’t remove the need for handwashing, social distancing, wearing masks and such, but it’s one more piece of the puzzle to defeating this virus,” he said.

Like many other vaccines, individuals who get the Moderna shot are required to wait 15 minutes at the vaccination site in case of any unexpected reaction, such as an allergy.

Hanley said all vaccinators are trained and equipped to quickly deal with an allergic reaction from hives to anaphylaxis.

Normal but unlikely side effects from the vaccine include a sore arm or fever and detailed information is available on the Yukon government website.

“Although a very rare occurrence, allergic reactions can be treated on the spot at any site when a vaccine is being offered. These effects are mere inconveniences compared to the enormous benefits of preventing COVID infection,” he said.

Contact Haley Ritchie at haley.ritchie@yukon-news.com

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