Several communities trailing behind as NWT looks to reach vaccination benchmark

Riley Oldford, 16, the first resident in the Northwest Territories to receive the Pfizer vaccine administered by Nurse Practitioner and Covid Immunization Clinic Supervisor, Janie Neudorf. (Supplied by NTHSSA.)
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Last week, the GNWT released their updated Emerging Wisely plan that featured benchmarks for the territory to hit in order to move forward during the pandemic.

With the territory over the 66 per cent benchmark for partially vaccinated eligible residents, outdoor gathering restrictions were loosened.

Next up on the docket is the loosening of indoor restrictions, something that won’t happen until the territory’s adult population reaches either a 75 per cent partially vaccinated rate or a 66 per cent fully vaccinated rate.

Last week the GNWT also released specific community-level vaccination data which shows how well each region is doing with vaccine coverage.

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Fort McPherson, Yellowknife, Fort Liard, Fort Smith and Ulukhaktok are currently the only NWT communities at or over the 66 percent benchmark of fully immunized adults.

Fort Providence, Fort Simpson, Norman Wells, Paulatuk, Inuvik, Sachs Harbour, Fort Resolution, Hay River, Nahanni Butte, Sambaa K’e, Whatì and Tulita are all between 65-50 per cent fully vaccinated.

Aklavik, Behchokǫ̀, Tsiigehtchic, Tuktoyaktuk, Łutselk’e, Jean Marie River, Délı̨nę, Fort Good Hope and Gamètì are all under 50 per cent fully vaccinated however are over 50 per cent partially vaccinated.

The four cominites that have been struggling the most with getting residents vaccinated are Wrigley, Kakisa, Wekweètì and Colville Lake.

Wrigley is at 37 per cent fully and 50% partially vaccinated, Kakisa is at 35 per cent and 39 per cent, Wekweètì is at 34 per cent and 42 per cent while Colville Lake is trailing way behind at 23 per cent and 33 per cent.

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When asked about what they were doing to combat the low vaccination numbers across certain regions of the NWT, Health Minister Julie Green said another round of vaccine clinics were being scheduled in the small communities for people who need a second dose or who have been waiting to get their first dose.

Appointments in Whati are scheduled for June 15th starting at 12:00 p.m. at the Cultural Centre.

Fort Smith appointments are scheduled for June 16th starting at 9:00 a.m. at the PWK Gym.

A Hay River pop-up clinic is scheduled for June 17th at Ann Buggins Wellness Centre, from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

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Appointments in Norman Wells are scheduled for June 17th and 18th starting 9:00 a.m. at the health centre.

Aklavik appointments are scheduled for June 18th starting 11:00 a.m. with the location to be determined.

Green also said a $100,000 fund in collaboration with the NWT Association of Communities was announced in late May for communities to apply for in order to encourage vaccine uptake on a community level.

“We have lots of very good applications, I’m told that the fund is oversubscribed. Next week, we’ll be making announcements about how that money is going to be spent,” she added.

The GNWT says that as of June 15th, 63 per cent of the NWT is fully vaccinated with 70 per cent being partially vaccinated.

26,383 residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, up 1500 from this time last week.

30,832 first doses have also been delivered to NWT residents, up over 600 from last week.

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