The vaccination clinic at the former convention centre in Whitehorse is continuing to provide free access to vaccines as the Yukon government seeks out a more permanent, smaller space to rent out, according to the health minister.
The Yukon government’s contract registry shows the office space at 4051 4th Ave. is being leased for $360,000 until March 31, 2024.
On the registry, the lease contract with Northern Vision Development totals $720,000 since April 1, 2022.
Between Jan. 1 and March 26, 1,661 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered at the convention centre, according to data from Claire Robson, a Health and Social Services department spokesperson.
In total at all locations across the territory, 82,401 vaccines were administered in 2021, 26,416 vaccines were administered in 2022 and 2,118 vaccines have been administered in 2023.
In the Yukon Legislative Assembly on March 27, Yukon Party MLA for Lake Laberge Brad Cathers questioned why the Yukon government continues to lease the large space now that mass vaccinations have slowed down, recognizing COVID-19 vaccines are available through other channels such as pharmacies and community health centres.
On a rare occasion, Health and Social Services Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee agreed with Cathers.
“I am sure that this might be one of the only times that the member opposite and I have agreed on this concept — or maybe any concept of health care here in the territory,” she said.
“It is a top priority for our government moving forward, including providing free, accessible vaccines for Yukoners.”
According to an April 3 release, pharmacists in the Yukon are now permanently authorized to prescribe and administer travel and publicly funded vaccines for Yukoners aged five and up.
The release indicates other jurisdictions in Canada have launched similar programs that have “proved to be both safe and effective.”
In the release, training is required for participating pharmacists. So far, four pharmacists in the territory have done the training.
McPhee commented on this change in the House on April 5.
“This change recognizes the value of pharmacists’ clinical expertise and training,” she said.
“It will also help reduce the pressures on emergency rooms and doctors’ offices, and improve overall convenience for Yukoners.”
Contact Dana Hatherly at email@example.com