Watch: First YK teenager receives Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

Last modified: May 6, 2021 at 3:19pm

Riley Oldford and mom Sharon describe how vaccination will change their lives.

Riley Oldford on Thursday became the first teenager in Yellowknife to receive a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has been approved for use in Canadians aged 12 to 17.

Until now, the NWT has only had access to the Moderna vaccine, which is currently authorized for use with adults aged 18 or over. A swap deal with British Columbia opened up a shipment of some 1,100 Pfizer doses earlier this week.

Clinics for Yellowknifers aged 12 to 17 rapidly filled up after opening for only booking on Wednesday. Another clinic is due to be held next week, alongside one in Behchokǫ̀.


Oldford, who has cerebral palsy and chronic lung disease, is immunocompromised and was first in line for dose one of two as the opening clinic for people aged to 12 to 17 began at Centre Square Mall on Wednesday.

He said he had been “quite worried” about contracting Covid-19.

“I’ll be a lot more comfortable hanging around friends and being in public,” Oldford told reporters. “I’ve been staying at home most of my time. I’ll be able to go out and do a lot more.”

“I’m so excited,” said Riley’s mom, Sharon. “Riley downplayed what our life has been like for over a year now. He’s had very limited contact in a very protected way in the last year, and myself and our husband have restricted our actions as well.

“This means he’ll be able to see friends. For a 16-year-old, that’s a long time to not be seeing your friends.”


Camera: Sarah Pruys
Editing: Ollie Williams