The first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in Canada, with priority given to the Yukon and Northwest Territories.
On Monday night, Health Minister of Canada Patty Hajdu said that the first doses of the vaccine are being distributed to the provinces and territories this week, with the Yukon and Northwest Territories getting priority.
“This is great news for remote and northern communities,” she said.
The first doses of the Moderna vaccine are being distributed to provinces and territories this week, including Yukon and Northwest Territories today! This is great news for remote and northern communities. pic.twitter.com/4zU9TYvCSW
— Patty Hajdu (@PattyHajdu) December 29, 2020
Northwest Territories Health Minister Julie Green said that 7,200 doses are located at Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife. The vaccine is being kept there to ensure “vaccine stability and quality assurance.”
Green added that priority residents in the Northwest Territories will start receiving their first dose of the Moderna vaccine in mid-January 2021.
Priority residents in the #NWT will start receiving their first dose of the #Moderna vaccine in mid-January 2021. The #GNWT will release a vaccine roll out plan in early January with more details. [2/2] #nwtpoli #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/e9zH3wd3Re
— Julie Green (@juliegreenMLA) December 29, 2020
Yukon Minister of Health and Social Services Pauline Frost said the arrival of the vaccine is “a turning point in Yukon’s fight against COVID-19 and is a positive way to end 2020.”
“I can assure Yukoners that we are ready to start rolling out the vaccine very soon. A team of dedicated health professionals is undergoing training on how to safely store, handle and deliver the vaccine. This training will ensure that they can safely administer the vaccine to eligible Yukoners,” she said in a statement.
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Frost noted that the first vaccines will be administered starting next week with the 7,200 doses that have arrived.
Earlier in December, the first shipments of Pfizer’s vaccine arrived in Canada, with 500,000 more doses coming in January.
Canada has deals with seven vaccine manufacturers, including Pfizer, to procure up to 194 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Health officials have the option to purchase an additional 220 million doses if need be.