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Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Yukon, NWT

Last Updated Dec 28, 2020 at 5:55 pm PST

(Courtesy Twitter/PattyHajdu)

Patty Hajdu celebrated the vaccine's arrival on Twitter, saying 'This is great news for remote and northern communities'

The Moderna vaccine is being distributed to all three Canadian territories because it s easier to store, ship

The first doses of the Moderna vaccine have landed in Yukon and the North West Territories, according to Canada’s health minister.

Patty Hajdu celebrated the vaccine’s arrival on Twitter Monday, saying “This is great news for remote and northern communities.”

The vaccine was approved by Health Canada on Dec. 23, and the first shipments arrived the following day.

Yukon’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brendan Hanley, says the territory asked for the Moderna vaccine because the Pfizer one is not practical for distribution because of its cold storage requirements.

In a statement earlier this month, Health Minister Pauline Frost called the vaccine’s approval the “exciting news Yukoners have been waiting for.

“We have reassurance that Yukon will receive enough doses to vaccinate 75 per cent of the population in early 2021. That, according to projections from our health team, means every Yukon adult who wants it will be able to be vaccinated in early 2021,” the statement reads.

The territory will prioritize those in long-term care homes, health care workers, seniors over 80, and people living in remote communities.

The Northwest Territories faced similar logistical issues with the Pfizer vaccine.

“The Moderna vaccine was selected as the most viable vaccine option for all three territories due to its ability to be shipped and stored more easily to remote communities at -20°C. The Pfizer vaccine currently being distributed to other parts of Canada must be stored at -70°C, which requires specialized, costly equipment and presents significant challenges,” reads a statement from the territory’s government. 

Between December, 2020 and March 2021 the territory is slated to receive enough doses to vaccinate 74 per cent of adults.

Nunavut is also set to receive a shipment of the vaccine that will inoculate 75 per cent of residents in the next three months.