Too many challenges with vaccine documentation: Minister Green

Health Minister Julie Green speaking at the Legislative Assembly. (Photo by Bailey Moreton/MyTrueNorthNow.com.)
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Health Minister Julie Green says NWT residents won’t be getting a standardized immunization record to prove they are fully vaccinated.

Currently the GNWT doesn’t have a system where residents can show they have received their vaccine, bar a card that is given out after appointments.

Health Minister Julie Green says that isn’t going to change as travel restrictions loosen, mainly because of logistical challenges.

“The cost and the confusion are major issues in that solution. The first is the cost of reaching out to every NWT resident who has received either one or both shots, which is now tens of thousands of people,” said Green. 

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“The other is that we don’t want to start a system and then stop it and restart it to meet national and international standards.”

Green said conversations are currently happening with the federal government and other provinces, with the hope of working towards a standard system of identifying who has been vaccinated.

Currently, the Health and Social Services Authority has records of everyone who has had their vaccine, and residents can order a copy of documentation that shows their vaccine record online. However, that system had been experiencing backlogs, leading to delays.

Green said people could also go to their local health centre and ask for a print out of their vaccine history, which should avoid backlogs.

“It’s my understanding that by offering people a couple of different ways to get their health records that the pressure on the online portal has been reduced,” she said. “So I haven’t personally had any complaints about backlogs up to this point.” 

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Questions over vaccine records are coming as the GNWT unveiled its updated Emerging Wisely plan.

The territory’s updated Emerging Wisely Plan. (Photo by Bailey Moreton/MyTrueNorthNow.com.)

The schedule outlines the timeline for cutting self-isolation requirements and opening up leisure travel, but people who are fully vaccinated will have looser requirements than people who haven’t been vaccinated.

Those rules apply to non-NWT residents who travel to the NWT, when leisure travel is reopened, potentially sometime around late summer and early fall, according to the GNWT’s timeline.

Immunization records will be required for travellers from outside the NWT, but not for NWT residents returning to the territory.

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