Vaccination coverage in Nunavik, Quebec increases to 45 per cent of population, active COVID-19 cases at 114

A file photo of a patient getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Immunization coverage in Nunavik, Quebec increased by 5% for the entire population between September 19th and October 17. (Luca Bruno/The Associated Press)

Vaccination numbers in Nunavik, the Inuit region of Arctic Quebec, went up slightly between September 19 and October 19, but remain far short of the health board’s goal of 75 per cent.

“Immunization coverage between September 19th and October 17th increased by 5% for the entire population,” the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services said in a Facebook post on Wednesday. 

“Those who received 2 doses reached 45%. More than half (59%) who can be vaccinated received two doses. Efforts must increase to reach the target of 75%.”

The latest figures come amidst a COVID-19 outbreak this month, the first time the region has had wide-spread community transmission since March 2020.

Nunavik vaccine coverage by community as of October 19
The Nunavik community of Akulivik on the Hudson Bay coast. Thirty-one percent of the population of 633 people here has been fully vaccinated. (Eye on the Arctic)

The most recent data on vaccination coverage in Nunavik.

The first number refers to the percentage of the total population that has received two doses. The second number is the percentage of the eligible population over 12 years old that is fully

Over 80 per cent immumization coverage of people 55 and over; and over 50 per cent coverage of the entire community:

  • Kuujjuaq 62% (75%)
  • Kangiqsualujjuaq 59% (80%)

Over 60 per cent immunization coverage of people 55 and over; and over 35 per cent coverage of the entire community:

  • Aupaluk 46% (58%)
  • Quaqtaq 45%  (59%)
  • Kangiqsujuaq  44% (60%)
  • Puvirnituq 39% (51%)
  • Kangirsuk 35% (47%)
  • Tasiujaq 35% (55%)

Lower coverage than the mild immunization level:

  • Inukjuak 32% (45%)
  • Akulivik 31% (44%)
  • Salluit 31% (42%)

Source: Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services 

As of Tuesday, there were 114 active cases in Nunavik, with a first case reported in the Ungava community of Quaqtaq on Tuesday.

Five communities remain on red alert meaning they’re on lockdown until further notice, non-essential services have been shut down, and visits between people living in different households is prohibited.

The five communities are: Kangiqsualujjuaq, Kuujjuaq, Kangirsuk, Salluit and Ivujivik.

Flights suspended, inter-community travel prohibited
An airplane on the tarmac in Nunavik. On Tuesday, Health authorities suspended flights between the Ungava coast side of Nunavik and the Hudson coast of Nunavik. (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)

With active cases continuing to balloon, especially on the Ungava coast, health authorities have suspended all flights between the Ungava coast side of Nunavik and the Hudson coast of Nunavik as of Tuesday.

The only exceptions will be required travels for airline employees.

Reported Nunavik Case Counts as of Wednesday, October 27
COVID-19 alerts in Nunavik, the Inuit region of Arctic Quebec, five communities remain on red alert.(Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services)

The most recent community case counts in Nunavik are:

    • Ivujivik – 9 active cases
    • Kangirsuk – 49 active cases
    • Salluit – 48 active case
    • Kangiqsujuaq – 2 active case
    • Kuujjuaq – 5 active cases
    • Quaqtaq – 1 active case
    • Kangiqsualujjuaq, 0 active cases, but evidence of community transmission, village remains on red alert

There were also 8 active cases outside of Nunavik:

  • 8 are at Ullivik, the Dorval residence used for Nunavik residents in Montreal for health services

-Source: Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services

Inter-community travel, whether by plane, ATV, boat or snowmobile, is also prohibited except for essential services, in certain humanitarian cases or if travel to a community is required under court order.

“Each organization must consider the extent to which travel of an employee, consultant, contractor – and client in the case of a health center – is essential and cannot be postponed,” Marie Rochette, Nunavik’s Director of Public Health, said in the ordonnance signed on October 26.

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

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Health officials in Canada’s Northwest Territories extends Behchokǫ COVID-19 containment order until Oct. 29, CBC News

Greenland: Greenland lifts COVID-19 restrictions on direct travel to small communities, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Iceland to soften COVID-19 rules on Oct. 20, plans full lifting of restrictions next month, Eye on the Arctic

United States: Rural Alaska at risk as COVID-19 surge swamps faraway hospitals, The Associated Press

Antarctica: U.K. delivers COVID-19 vaccine to British station in Antarctica, Eye on the Arctic

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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