A vial of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine against Covid-19.
In six communities across the Northwest Territories, more than 75 percent of residents aged 18 years and older are fully vaccinated while a total of 15 communities have partially vaccinated at least 75 percent of their adult population.
According to the latest data from the NWT government, as of July 24, 87 percent of adult residents in Sachs Harbour, 81 percent in Ulukhaktok, 79 percent in Kakisa, 78 percent in Jean Marie River, 76 percent in Fort McPherson, and 76 percent in Yellowknife, Dettah and Ndilǫ (which are counted as one community), are now fully vaccinated.
At least 75 percent of the population over the age of 18 in Aklavik, Fort Liard, Fort Providence, Fort Simpson, Gamètì, Norman Wells, Paulatuk, Sambaa K’e, and Tulita have also been partially vaccinated.
Only one community has achieved at least 75% partial vaccination for its entire population. In Kakisa – the smallest community in the territory with an estimated population of 36 in 2020 – 73 percent of the total population is fully vaccinated and 87 percent is partially vaccinated.
In a Wednesday news release, the territorial Department of Health and Social Services said the new vaccine data is based on national standards where residency is determined based on NWT Electronic Medical Records and NWT Health Care Plan registration. Previously, the NWT government based vaccination percentages on population.
“Having access to accurate community vaccination rates enables individuals and communities to make informed decisions about things like mask wearing, hosting gatherings, and welcoming out-of-territory visitors,” Umesh Sutendra, a representative for the department, said in a statement.
Sutendra noted that vaccination percentages in communities could change if people move from one community to another, particularly in those with smaller populations.
The territory’s plan to reduce pandemic restrictions is partially dependent on vaccination rates in the NWT.
According to an updated version of Emerging Wisely released in early June, the territory must have at least 75 percent of the population over the age of 12 fully vaccinated plus 66 to 75 percent of the entire population partially vaccinated before all pandemic restrictions will be lifted. Additionally, there must be 66 to 75 percent full vaccination coverage across Canada and a seven day national average of fewer than 1,000 new Covid-19 cases.
The territorial government anticipates reaching those goals by mid- to late fall.
Across the territory, 70 percent of residents over the age of 12 and 59 percent of all residents are now fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, 75 percent of residents over 12 and 64 percent of all territorial residents are partially vaccinated.
According to federal data, around 69 percent of Canada’s total population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while 50 percent of residents are fully vaccinated.
NWT’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola said last month it’s anticipated that Pfizer will release clinical trial results for its Covid-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11 in September. Once Health Canada approves the vaccine for that age group, Kandola said the territory will roll out its vaccination plan for elementary school aged children.