A vaccination clinic begins Thursday in Arviat, Nunavut, the community that has seen most of the territory’s COVID-19 cases.
The municipality encourages residents to get vaccinated by offering cash prizes.
Residents of the hamlet of central Nunavut, which has approximately 3,000 people, can win one of five prizes of $ 2,000 for obtaining the photo.
“It’s to get people to get vaccinated,” said Arviat Mayor Joe Savikataaq Jr. “It’s a very small price to pay to get herd immunity here, in case we would have a second wave. ”
There are currently no active cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut, where 266 cases have been confirmed to date.
Since the start of a COVID-19 outbreak in early November, Arviat has recorded a total of 222 cases, including one reported death.
All residents have recovered, but health officials are still monitoring the community.
A charter plane carrying doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived in Arviat on Wednesday. The appointment clinic is held Thursday through Saturday and again Monday at the town’s community center, where 10 nurses will be on hand to vaccinate residents.
“This is the day we are all waiting for here in Arviat,” said Savikataaq.
There will be a walk-in clinic on Saturday.
The municipal raffle for the cash prizes will take place on January 19, the day after vaccinations have ended, and will be announced live on local community radio and Facebook.
Vaccination clinics in 4 communities this week
Arviat is one of four communities in Nunavut where clinics are being held this week. Cambridge Bay, Igloolik and Gjoa Haven are also among the first clinics. Vaccines were distributed in Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, as well as residents of long-term care homes and their staff.
On Tuesday, the territory reported that about 400 people had received a first dose of Moderna vaccine.
As Nunavut is a northern and remote region with a predominantly Indigenous population, its residents are part of a national priority group for COVID-19 vaccination.
By the end of March, territorial health officials expect to have vaccinated up to 75% of the adult population, or around 19,000 people.
Communities are currently distributing vaccines from a stock of 6,000 doses arrived at the end of December. Another 12,000 doses are expected to arrive by mid-February.
In Arviat, a lockdown was lifted on Tuesday, and travel is now allowed in and out of the community, but public health restrictions remain strict.
In the more than two months of lockdown the community has faced, Savikataaq said, children were born whose grandparents had not been able to see them until this week.
He said the vaccines would bring relief to the community.
“This is a very good security measure that everyone is about to receive, and it is one more step towards freedom,” he said.
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