COVID-19 vaccines to arrive in Inuit region of Arctic Quebec January 16

A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccination roll-out in Nunavik, the Inuit region of Arctic Quebec, begins on January 18. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Nunavik, the Inuit region of Arctic Quebec, will be receiving its first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 this weekend.

The first 1,000 doses arrive on Saturday and will be distributed throughout the region’s 14 communities so vaccination can begin on Monday, January 18, the regional health board, the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS), said in a Facebook post this week. 

In Nunavik’s three most populous communities; Puvirnituq, Inukjuak, and Kuujjuaq, vaccination priority will be given over the next two weeks to those most at risk for COVID-19 complications.

Starting February 8, the vaccine will be offered to those most likely to get exposed to the virus.

In the other 11 communities, vaccinations the first two weeks will be offered in priority to those most at risk from COVID-19 complications and to those most likely to be exposed to the virus.

On February 8, the vaccine will be offered to others.

The Ungava Tulattavik Health Centre in Kuujjuaq, Quebec. In Kuujjuaq, vaccination priority will be given over the next two weeks to those most at risk for COVID-19 complications (Eilis Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)

Community members will be able to receive detailed information on getting the vaccine from their local nursing stations.

Two-dose Moderna vaccine

After Phase 3 trials, Moderna found its coronavirus vaccine is 94.1 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19, and is 100 per cent effective against severe COVID-19, 14-days after two doses.

The Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS) did not respond before deadline to inquires about when and how second Moderna doses would be provided to Nunavik residents.

Nunavik has a population of approximately 13,000 people, with 14 communities in the region. All the communities are fly-in only. 

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Elder in Makkovik first to get COVID-19 vaccine in Inuit region of Atlantic Canada, Eye on the Arctic

Denmark: Who is allowed into Denmark from Sweden right now?, Radio Sweden

Iceland: COVID-19 variant prompts Iceland to require quarantine for children entering country as of January 13, Eye on the Arctic

Russia: Russia’s Northern Fleet begins 2nd stage of COVID-19 vaccination, Radio Canada International

Sweden: Sweden’s northernmost county among regions to introduce stricter COVID-19 recommendations, Radio Sweden

United States: After early containment success, there’s now rapid COVID-19 spread in rural Alaska, including the Arctic, Alaska Public Media

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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