More than 75 per cent of eligible adults have been vaccinated in the Yukon, Premier Sandy Silver announced May 19, which may soon allow for an increase to gathering limits.
“The vaccine uptake to date is so great to see,” Silver said.
Silver said the government is currently looking at increasing limits for social gatherings. He said right now they are looking to increase limits on indoor gatherings to 20 people and 100 people for outdoor gatherings with physical distancing and masks.
Limits for organized events, such as weddings, funerals and religious ceremonies may also be increased to 200 people if the venue can accommodate physical distancing.
The changes have not been brought in yet.
“We can be realistically optimistic about our summer ahead,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health Brendan Hanley.
Previously announced changes to quarantine rules and business capacity will come into effect on May 25.
Silver said fully vaccinated individuals will not need to quarantine when returning to the Yukon if they can prove their vaccination status and will give permission for their health records to.
Silver said the change will “mostly benefit fully vaccinated Yukoners who leave the territory and then return” because most Canadians have not received a second shot. He said the Yukon government will be able to verify the vaccination status of British Columbians and Yukoners. How the new rules will work for other jurisdictions is still being determined, said Silver.
Bars and restaurants will also be able to return to full capacity for table service.
Youth vaccination clinics to begin May 31
Vaccination clinics for youth 12 to 17 have been scheduled, the government announced on May 18.
Starting May 31, youth in Yukon communities will be able to receive their first dose. In Whitehorse, the first shot of Pfizer will be administered starting June 1.
“We are excited to offer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for our youth,” said Minister of Health Tracy-Anne McPhee. “Giving youth aged 12-17 the opportunity to be vaccinated will help protect them, their loved ones, and the broader community from the virus.”
Second does clinics will start as early as June 23.
Yukon’s chief medical officer, Dr. Brendan Hanley, said Health Canada approved the Pfizer vaccine for children 12 and up on May 5.
“Clinical trial results of the Pfizer vaccine showed excellent protection against COVID-19 with a strong safety profile,” said Hanley. “As we have seen in other jurisdictions, youth are not immune to the effects of COVID-19.
“I encourage all youth to take this unique opportunity to get vaccinated.”
Community clinics will be held in schools while Whitehorse clinics will be at the Coast High Country Inn Convention Centre — the same place adults received their shots.
Because of limited supply and stricter handling requirements, the Pfizer vaccine will only be available for a short time. Clinic dates will be more limited than the adult vaccine clinics.
On May 12, McPhee said the Yukon had secured enough vaccine doses for every eligible youth in the territory.
Second dose clinics for youth will be held in nearly all Yukon communities. Medical travel will be supported in communities where a clinic is not held.
Youth who are unable to make the clinic date in their community can also receive a medical travel allowance.
Kids in Atlin can be vaccinated in Whitehorse, while youth from Lower Post, Good Hope Lake and Dease River can be vaccinated in Watson Lake or Whitehorse.
Like Moderna, Pfizer’s vaccine is an mRNA vaccine. Moderna is still available in the Yukon, but hasn’t been approved for people under 18.
– With files from Haley Ritchie
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