Three quarters of eligible NWT adults will be able to receive the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in the first three months of 2021, the territory’s premier said on Thursday.
More information about the territory’s vaccine plans is expected a news conference to be held from 1:30pm on Friday. Premier Caroline Cochrane and Chief Public Health Officer Dr Kami Kandola will speak.
Brigadier-General Patrick Carpentier, commander of Joint Task Force North, will also be in attendance. The military is expected to play a key role in delivering the vaccine to northern communities.
The Moderna vaccine has yet to be formally approved by Health Canada, which has so far approved only the Pfizer vaccine. Pfizer’s vaccine requires ultra-cold storage that the North can’t adequately provide, ruling it out for widespread northern use.
Moderna’s candidate is expected to be authorized for Canadian use in the coming weeks. Canada is expecting an initial delivery of two million Moderna doses in early 2021.
“Early in the new year, the NWT will get doses of the Moderna vaccine to immunize 75 percent of our eligible adult population against Covid-19 in the first three months of 2021,” Premier Cochrane said on Twitter on Thursday.
“We will provide details about work under way to roll out the vaccine tomorrow afternoon.”
An “eligible adult” was not defined by the premier nor the territorial government in a short advisory announcing Friday’s news conference.
There is so far no suggestion that vaccination in the NWT will be mandatory, though the territory will almost certainly advocate for all eligible residents to receive the shot.
Immunization of the vast majority of residents has long been considered key to achieving herd immunity against Covid-19 and, ultimately, lifting restrictions brought on by the pandemic.
Officials in the Yukon made a similar announcement on Thursday, again relying on approval of the Moderna vaccine.
Yukon’s chief medical officer said the Moderna candidate was considered “safe and highly effective” and was “next in line” for approval.