The COVID-19 update for the territory on Jan. 26 had mostly good news, despite the story of a couple skipping the vaccine line going international.
Cases in the territory remain at zero.
Since the incident of a couple who snuck into the Beaver Creek clinic last week to receive their Moderna vaccine, two more different charges have been laid for a failure to self-isolate.
“When you fail to self-isolate, you put your friends, your neighbors, your colleagues and your fellow Yukoners at risk,” said Community Services Minister John Streicker.
Over 5,100 Yukoners have been immunized, as of statistics from Jan. 26.
The mobile vaccination teams continue trips to the communities across the territory.
This week teams visited Carcross, immunizing more than 240 people on the first day, and Dawson, where more than 300 people, including Premier Sandy Silver, received their shot. The team is also headed to Pelly Crossing.
“It was really wonderful to see everybody come out. That was my first time seeing the mobile clinic at work and I just want to say to the teams that were there working, you’re doing a fantastic job,” Streicker said.
Right now priority groups are being immunized in Whitehorse, including front-line healthcare workers, those in group settings such as the Whitehorse Correctional Centre and emergency shelter, and Whitehorse, Ibex Valley, Marsh Lake and Mount Lorne adults over age 65.
Next week the teams will head to Burwash Landing, Destruction Bay, Haines Junction, Carmacks, Faro, Ross River, Mayo and Stewart Crossing.
The Whitehorse clinic will begin immunization for those over 60 in Whitehorse, Ibex Valley, Marsh Lake and Mount Lorne on Feb. 1.
Those groups (both 60 plus and the upcoming communities) now have appointment slots open. While there is some capacity for walk-ins, those wanting to get their vaccine are strongly encouraged to book a time slot online in advance, at yukon.ca/this-is-our-shot or by calling 1-877-374-0425.
During the news conference on Jan. 27, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley acknowledged there have been “glitches” in the booking system, but said it has been helpful overall. He explained details to address rumours that the clinic is not processing enough people per day. The clinic is currently operating six days a week. Hanley said that day off is important to accommodate healthcare employees.
“The use of the booking system has helped tremendously with clinic flow, and our ability to effectively plan for the right amount of vaccine and the right number of immunized years on-site to ensure a smooth thoroughfare of individuals receiving their vaccinations,” he said.
He said the website booking system also does not reflect how busy a clinic may be. Each time slot can be booked by up to 10 people.
“You may notice that there’s a wide range of appointment availability for the cohorts that we’re taking that are taking bookings for now. We hope this availability promotes accessibility by providing choice and the opportunity for people to come when they’re available to do so,” he said.
The mass clinic open to all adults over 18 years is expected to start Feb. 10.
Following the incident in Beaver Creek, everyone getting their vaccine will now be expected to provide proof of Yukon residency. For new arrivals, this can also come in the form of documentation such as a utility bill, lease or letter from an employer. Streicker said the new requirements are not meant to discourage people living and working in the territory from getting a vaccine.
Second doses to begin
The Moderna vaccine requires two doses, given between 30 to 40 days apart. As more communities receive their first dose next week, second doses will begin for the long-term care residents who had their first dose a month ago.
“Soon we will be starting second doses as well. So we are basically starting whole groups of people over while others are getting their first shots. You can only imagine the complexities of getting so many different teams and supply chains in place, all the while attempting to minimize wastage of doses,” Hanley said.
“I echo the minister with my thanks and appreciation to both the clinical teams of vaccinators and their supports, and to the logistical teams during all the moving around of vaccines,” he said.
Contact Haley Ritchie at firstname.lastname@example.org