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Fort Liard vaccine clinic plans updated

The GNWT is refining it’s plans for a vaccine clinic in Fort Liard later this week, with the community under a shutdown.

A COVID-19 vaccine clinic is being run in Fort Liard on January 21 and 22, with everyone 18 years and older eligible to be administered their vaccine.

The GNWT’s vaccine team in the community, composed of two nurses and a logistician, will stay in the community a day longer, to provide more opportunities for people to get vaccinated.

The vaccination team is currently working with the staff and those isolating individuals to organize set aside clinic times during the clinic vaccination to “ensure that individuals who are isolating who do have a negative COVID swab and who are asymptomatic are still able to access vaccination” during the clinic, according to Dr. AnneMarie Pegg, the territorial medical director.

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The GNWT is also weighing up sending vaccination teams directly to people’s homes if “they’re having difficulty accessing an external site” but there were no confirmed plans about this.

Pegg added there is discussion underway about returning to the community earlier than planned — a vaccine clinic would be set up in the community 28 days after the first so residents could be administered with their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

That’s because a large group of people will be isolating and may miss the vaccine clinic scheduled for this week.

“There is discussion underway with the vaccine team to look at how we can potentially adapt the schedule and return potentially to Fort Liard,” said Pegg. “The other option would be maybe looking at other means that those people could get the vaccination once their isolation period is finished.”

The vaccine clinic will go ahead, unless a weather event prevents the vaccine team flying into the community.

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“There’s been a great response and welcome to our rapid response team,” said Pegg. “The nurses have had good cooperation from the community and all of those signs would indicate that there’s incredible motivation on behalf of the community.”

The schedule, outlining when the GNWT will return to the community, has not been released yet. Future scheduling of vaccine clinics will likely depend on how many vaccines are delivered to the Northwest Territories.

Pegg said in an interview with that the GNWT is awaiting research which could allow for longer wait times between doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

“While we encourage everyone to get the second dose 28 days after the first dose, we do understand that life commitments, appointment availability, or whether may prevent people from getting the second dose on time,” NWT’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola said in a press conference. “If the second dose is delayed, it should still be provided as soon as possible. And you do not have to restart the vaccine series if this happens.”

Currently 1,893 people have received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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