The NWT has begun offering COVID-19 vaccines to non-resident rotational workers at mineral and petroleum projects. This new priority group began receiving vaccines on March 12th.
Included in this priority group are workers at Imperial Oil in Norman Wells, as well as workers at NWT mines such as Diavik, Ekati, and Gahcho Kué.
The GNWT says they have requested 12,000 additional doses from the federal government specifically for non-resident workers in addition to the 51,600 doses they’re already receiving for NWT residents.
Minister of Health and Social Services Julie Green says non-resident workers not included in initial priority groups were previously invited to email the CPHO to ask for an individual exemption.
“Though this still remains an option, I am glad to see that these large worksites have been added to the priority list which will ensure additional safety for NWT residents and communities,” Green adds.
Other non-resident rotational workers will be considered by the CPHO on a case-by-case basis.
Green says recent remote worksite outbreaks in the NWT and the new COVID-19 variants in other parts of Canada have highlighted the importance of protecting rotational workers living and working inside NWT borders.
“Increasing immunity at these worksites will protect residents, their families, and the communities NWT residents return to between shifts,” she adds.
Any NWT resident rotational workers who may have missed getting a dose in their home community will also be offered the vaccine when the NWT vaccination team visits their worksite.
Green remains confident that the GNWT will be able to provide both doses of the vaccine to 75% of its adult population by the end of April 2021.