All Yukon residents will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination starting March 1
A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is displayed at a pop-up vaccine clinic for EMS workers Center in Salt Lake City on January 5, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Rick Bowmer)
WHITEHORSE -- Yukon Premier Sandy Silver says all residents of the territory could be immunized against COVID-19 within a matter of weeks, now that an adequate supply of vaccine has been secured.
Silver says just over 16,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected to arrive in Yukon on Feb. 28.
He says if the shipment arrives as scheduled, a public immunization clinic will open in Whitehorse on March 1.
Appointments for the general clinic are already being accepted and Silver says booster shots will be provided four to six weeks after residents get their first jab.
He says the last few weeks have involved "intense negotiations" to ensure vaccine supplies for Yukon as officials successfully "reminded" the prime minister of his commitment to prioritize rural, Indigenous and remote communities.
Yukon has two active cases of COVID-19 and Dr. Brendan Hanley, the chief medical officer of health, says test results are pending to determine if either involve a variant of the virus, but he is doubtful any new strains have entered the territory.
"I'm not highly suspicious that these (new cases) are variants," Hanley told a news conference on Thursday.
"The area (outside Yukon) where the exposure happened is not an area where there are variants known to circulate, but we will know in the days to come."
Yukon has recorded 72 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began last year and Silver says 10,627 people have received the first of two immunizations, while 917 people have had the second dose.
The vaccination rollout aims to provide a shot to every Yukon resident who wants one and officials say it remains on track to wrap up by the end of April.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2021.