COVID-19 vaccination coverage in Nunavik, Quebec remains low at 28 per cent

“Additional measures may eventually be needed to protect the region,” the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services said on Thursday. (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)

The latest data from the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services shows that COVID-19 vaccination coverage in Nunavik, the Inuit region of Arctic Quebec, remains low at 28 per cent.

The numbers, released on Thursday, indicate the number of people that have had two doses as of July 10th.

The number of 28 per cent is up from 25 per cent in the last data set that went up to June 4.

Nobody from NRBHSS was immediately available for comment, but in a Facebook post on Thursday, the board said the numbers were a concern.

“Vaccination coverage remains low in Nunavik,” the NRBHSS said.

“This means that risks still exist (e.g. hospitalizations and outbreaks). Additional measures may eventually be needed to protect the region. The vaccine is still available for those who should get it.”

The board also said masking continues to be obligatory in public places, and warned that variants remain a risk to the population.

“The Delta variant continues to circulate throughout Canada and elsewhere in the world,” the NRBHSS said.

“It is highly contagious and can cause severe complications. Let’s continue to protect ourselves and the most vulnerable.”

Highest, lowest coverage in Hudson Bay communities

The community of Kuujjuarapik has the highest percentage of the population vaccinated (49 per cent) with 90 per cent of its population aged 55 or older having had both jabs.  

Akulivik has the lowest percentage of its population vaccinated (16 per cent). Fifty-eight per cent of its population aged 55 or older has had both jabs

Nunavik has a population of approximately 13,000 people, with 14 communities in the region. All the communities are fly-in only. Two communities have small hospitals with the rest served by nursing stations.

Because of limited medical resources in the region and the isolation of the communities, strict public health measures have been in place since the start of the pandemic for outsiders coming to the communities and a Nunavik Territory Access Authorization must be filled out prior to departure. 

Write to Eilís at eilis.quinn@cbc.ca 

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: ‘Sense of urgency’ to boost vaccine uptake before fall, says acting top doc in Canada’s Northwest Territories, CBC News

Greenland: Greenland health authorities investigate four new COVID-19 cases in Sisimiut, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Santa joins former Eurovision winner Lordi at Lapland vaccination clinic to help boost jab uptake in Finland, Yle News

United States: Cruise ship arrives in Skagway, Alaska after passenger flown home with COVID-19, CBC News

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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