- Everyone aged 18 and over can get the vaccine. It’s not mandatory, but it’s highly recommended to prevent severe complications associated with COVID-19.
- Nurses will ask a few questions to make sure everything is alright and that it is safe for you to receive it. Do not hesitate to express your concerns or ask any questions that you may have about the vaccination. An Inuktitut interpreter will be present to help answer questions and concerns.
- This vaccine will require a second dose. For now, the aim is to vaccinate as many people as possible with a first dose to protect as many people as possible. The NRBHSS will inform everyone when the second dose becomes available and when the rollout is ready.
- To facilitate the administering of the vaccine, it is suggested to wear shirts with short sleeves.
- Please bring your health card (Medicare card) to help make things run a little smoother. If you don’t have it, you can still receive the vaccine.
What Vaccine Against COVID-19 is Nunavik Receiving?
Nunavik is receiving Moderna's vaccine against COVID-19 (mRNA-1273). Moderna COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are manufactured by Moderna Therapeutics Inc. On December 23, 2020, Health Canada authorized this vaccine.
Compared to other COVID-19 vaccines currently available, transport and storage of the Moderna vaccine is easier and in smaller formats. For this reason, it is the current vaccine of choice for more remote communities.
Other vaccines may eventually be added to the list of vaccines available in Nunavik in the future.
Details, ingredients and how the Moderna vaccine works can be found on the Government of Canada website.
Why is Nunavik Considered a Priority Region by the Government?
Nunavik, like other remote regions, is one of 6 priority groups that can receive the vaccine before the rest of the Quebec population. First, because of the challenges that the these regions face in accessing certain types of healthcare. If anyone fell seriously ill from COVID-19, Nunavimmiut would have to leave the region to seek treatment in the South. The vaccine can help prevent people from getting sick and having to leave their communities for treatment.
Also, in Nunavik, it is common for people to live in large numbers in the same household, including vulnerable people (such as an Elder, for example). This makes it more difficult for a person with COVID-19 to isolate themselves in such a configuration (not enough rooms/bedrooms), at the same time puting vulnerable people in the household at risk. Vaccination can therefore help protect the most vulnerable.
Why Get Vaccinated?
Everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated, as the Moderna vaccine offers excellent protection against COVID-19 (over 90%). It is crucial to protect those most at risk of complications from COVID-19, as well as those most exposed to the virus. This is why certain groups have been identified as having priority to receive the first available vaccines before offering vaccination to all Nunavimmiut.
What Are the Side Effects?
After the vaccine is given, it is common to experience mild side effects. These effects may last for a few days after vaccination. They can be unpleasant but are not dangerous; pain at the site of the injection, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and sometimes fever. It is the body's natural response that occurs to build immunity against disease.
There is a very small risk of an allergic reaction to vaccines. This rare reaction affects about 11 in 1,000,000 people who receive the vaccine. It usually occurs soon after the vaccine is given and is treatable. This is why it is important to remain monitored for at least 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine.
Is the Vaccine Safe?
COVID-19 vaccines are safe. Side effects are minor and cases of severe allergic reaction to the vaccine are rare and treatable.
This vaccine has been studied with the same care as other vaccines previously used to protect against other diseases. To date, there have been millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered around the world. All of them provide additional evidence that the vaccine is safe.
How is Vaccination Carried Out in Nunavik?
The vaccines arrived in Nunavik by plane on January 16, 2021. As of January 18, the vaccination of people most at risk of complications and exposure to COVID-19 began in communities.
From February 8, different villages will have access to a population vaccination clinic for any adult who wishes. Efforts to vaccinate those at risk will continue.
Each local CLSC will provide information on the vaccination methods (date, place, time) to the people concerned who are part of these groups. If users have not been contacted, it is because they will be vaccinated during the population vaccination which will begin immediately after the priority populations, in February 2021.
Is the Vaccine Mandatory?
No, getting vaccinated is a personal choice, but it should be well understood that it has a collective impact. The NRBHSS encourages everyone to get vaccinated.