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Territory to get Moderna vaccines early 2021

The NWT is set to receive enough doses of the Moderna vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of the eligible adult population in the first three months of 2021.

Premier Caroline Cochrane announced the news Thursday on Twitter, adding there would be a press conference Friday where plans would be fleshed out. 

Brigadier-General Patrick Carpentier, Commander of Joint Task Force North, will also be in attendance. The armed forces are set to have a big role in distributing the vaccine. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had previously announced plans for a operations centre for distributing COVID-19 vaccine, run by the federal government and the military.

This announcement is the first time the territorial government has provided a timeline for when a vaccine will be distributed in the territory.

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Moderna’s vaccine is yet to be approved by Health Canada. The Pfizer vaccine was approved on Wednesday by the public health agency, and is set to be rolled out next week.

But Cochrane had previously raised concerns about the territory’s ability to distribute the Pfizer vaccine to many NWT residents. That’s because it needs to be stored at -70 degrees celsius for weeks, and the NWT does not have the freezers required to do that.

The Moderna vaccine only needs to be stored at -20 degrees celsius.

Cochrane said previously the vaccine will likely go to seniors first, and people who live in rural communities, because they are most at risk. 

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