Whitehorse Daily Star

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DELIVERING MIXED NEWS – Premier Sandy Silver, Mary Tiesen, the Yukon government’s American sign language interpreter, Health Minister Pauline Frost and Dr. Brendan Hanley, left-right, are seen at Thursday afternoon’s first COVID-19 update of the New Year.

Complications arise in vaccine resupply hopes

The Yukon government is hastily revising its vaccine rollout plan after being unable to guarantee one mass shipment of enough COVID-19 doses to inoculate 75 per cent of the adult population of the territory.

By Tim Giilck on January 8, 2021

The Yukon government is hastily revising its vaccine rollout plan after being unable to guarantee one mass shipment of enough COVID-19 doses to inoculate 75 per cent of the adult population of the territory.

Despite promises by the government that it would not receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in “dribs and drabs,” it appears that is exactly what’s happening.

During a COVID-19 briefing Thursday afternoon, Premier Sandy Silver and Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost said there is no fixed, guaranteed schedule to receive more vaccine doses.

Enough vaccine to provide 7,200 shots arrived in the territory on Dec. 29. Rollout of that vaccine to Whitehorse seniors began Monday.

Those doses are enough to fully inoculate 3,300 people. The Moderna vaccine requires two doses approximately a month apart for full effectiveness.

Government and public health officials have decided to use those doses to treat 7,200 people with a single dose while gambling more of the vaccine will arrive in time to provide the necessary second shot for those people.

Silver and Frost said they are expecting equivalent shipments of the vaccine to continue every two weeks.

Silver was quick to note the shipments of the vaccine are in the control of the federal government, leaving the Yukon at the mercy of federal decisions.

That flies in the face of assertions made late last year that the Yukon would receive as many as 50,000 doses in one shipment.

Silver said he had hoped to receive such a shipment, but never promised it. He was planning to bring the matter up at a First Ministers’ conference Thursday evening (see separate story, this page).

The official Opposition Yukon Party wasn’t happy with that news.

“While we are pleased to see the first few Yukoners receive the vaccine earlier this week, we are disappointed that the premier has missed every single timeline that he set for the Liberal government’s vaccine rollout,” the party stated in an email to the Star.

“The premier told Yukoners that vaccines would be in the Yukon ‘a mere 48 hours after approval’ of the Moderna vaccine – that did not happen,” the party pointed out.

“The premier told Yukoners that we would be getting all of the vaccines at once – that did not happen, as we have only received a fraction of our allotment so far.

“Now we see that the Yukon has one of lowest vaccination rates in the country so far.”

On Dec. 9, the Yukon Party noted, Silver told reporters, “We want quick delivery of the complete package all at once. We don’t want it coming in in dribs and drabs. We want to see all of it up front and we want it as timely as possible.”

On Thursday, the government has released a schedule for administering the COVID-19 vaccine in the territory.

Two mobile teams will provide vaccinations in communities across the territory, starting the week of Jan. 18, according to the schedule.

“Each mobile team will travel with multiple immunizers providing the vaccine to as many people as possible while they are in each community,” it states.

“The Whitehorse vaccination clinic is scheduled to open the week of Jan. 18.”

The local clinic will be open 12 hours a day six days a week until the supply of vaccine runs out. It will continue on those hours if more arrives.

“Over the next several weeks, vaccinations will be available for other priority groups, including front-line health care staff, older adults, as well as high-risk and vulnerable populations,” the schedule stated.

Three hundred and 10 people had been inoculated by Wednesday.

Also starting Jan. 18, the mobile teams are slated to arrive in Watson Lake, Lower Post and Upper Liard. A second team will travel to Beaver Creek and Old Crow.

“It’s not an easy task to organize,” said Frost. “But we should be grateful for the vaccines we have received.”

The officials also discussed the nine new cases discovered in the territory during the first week of January during the briefing.

All are related to out-of-territory travelling, Dr. Brendan Hanley said. They have occurred in two clusters, with six people connected in the first, and three in the second.

The cluster of three represents one household.

All are doing well, Hanley said, and are following the proper safety protocols.

Forty-eight people are self-isolating as possible contacts mostly related to the two clusters, while their test results are pending.

“It’s tough news to start the year with,” Hanley said. “But COVID should always be assumed to be active in the community.

Five new charges have been laid under the Civil Emergency Management Act.

One of those is for failing to wear a mask, Silver said. Three more are for failing to self-isolate properly. The fifth is for failing to follow the quarantine plan.


Three more cases of COVID-19 were confirmed by Yukon government and health officials on Thursday.

The three new cases are related to out-of-territory travel, according to Hanley, and represent one household.

That’s nine new cases for the Yukon this year – after cases were nearly eradicated by the end of December.

The total case count for the territory is now 69.

All of the nine new cases are in Whitehorse. Hanley said all are doing well and following safety protocols.

See letters.

Comments (35)

Up 2 Down 0

Yoduh on Jan 14, 2021 at 4:21 pm

Double dose of vaccine?
Seniors will get single shots of vaccine starting Jan. 18th, with no guarantee of getting a second shot until April, according to the latest news out of Ottawa. They have said 1,000,000 doses will arrive every month in Canada, starting in April.
That’s quite a gamble thinking the Yukon will get more before April. All completed shots will have been wasted, not to mention the time an effort to administer them.
Liberal inefficiency, and BS at its finest.
Don’t promise anything until you have the vaccines in the fridges!

Up 10 Down 9

Jack C. on Jan 13, 2021 at 7:15 am

Trudeau just purchased another 20,000,000 (twenty million) vaccine doses. This brings the total purchased to some 80,000,000 (eighty million) doses. How many Canadians are there?
It has been said that all Canadians who want a covid vaccine shot can have one by September 2021. I see little problem here.

Up 12 Down 30

Nathan Living on Jan 12, 2021 at 3:20 pm

I think the Liberals are doing as well as they can and there is pressure to deliver the vaccine to provinces.
There may be setbacks with vaccinations complete by end of May.

Up 14 Down 7

DL on Jan 12, 2021 at 2:20 pm

If governments truly believe that informed consent is taking place with this vaccination program, then they should lift all covid restrictions now. Informed consent should also include informing the recipients that in the case of adverse effects, the big pharma producer of the vaccine made sure they won’t be held liable. All costs of adverse effects will be covered by taxpayers.

Up 13 Down 14

Norbert on Jan 11, 2021 at 5:14 pm

Of note: Doug Ford the conservative Premier of Ontario stated on the 11th in a CBC article that "Trudeau has been working his back off" trying to get the vaccine spread around the country and applied.

Up 23 Down 10

JC on Jan 11, 2021 at 4:39 pm

Wilf. Will Canada get their 500,000,000 million bucks back from China. LOL. Justin will give it the Xi Jing as a gift. While our two Michaels rot in a Chinese dungeon. Even care packages are denied them, while their golden girl is living in a Vancouver mansion living the high life with a pretty bracelet on her slinky ankle.

Up 20 Down 20

JC on Jan 11, 2021 at 4:34 pm

Crunch: Liberal strategy: slow down the vaccine, have an early election in March or April, while most people are still waiting to get the vaccine. Keep the voters in fear of infection so they will stay home. Have mail in balloting using the Dominion Counting System to guarantee the Liberals a majority government. It worked in the US. And you can be sure JT will use it to.

Up 11 Down 8

JC on Jan 11, 2021 at 4:29 pm

Wilf: Who will get the other 300 doses? Whitehorse Corrections inmates of course. See, even I can do math.

Up 31 Down 28

DL on Jan 11, 2021 at 3:22 pm

You can take my spot in the line, I'm not taking this rushed vaccine, which is said to NOT provide immunity, it only suppresses the symptoms. It’s quite telling that all 66 local ‘covid cases’ only had mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all, and ‘recovered’ at home. If that’s what a covid infection is like, then I would prefer the long-term immunity it provides.

As for the one reported death in Watson Lake of someone who happened to test positive for covid, this was an elderly person with several other pre-existing conditions who was closely followed by health professionals, and died at home. This person may have died with covid, but absolutely no evidence has been presented that he died OF covid.

Statistics for covid deaths have been bungled by including anyone who died while testing positive for covid, but most likely died of other pre-existing conditions. This misrepresentation is being used to justify lockdowns and it should be a national scandal.

Up 30 Down 5

KC on Jan 11, 2021 at 9:37 am

Hmmm... Well 500 shots in a week definitely strikes me as being on the low side but if that is all we can do not really much sense in the feds giving us all of our doses at once either.

Up 36 Down 2

YukonMax on Jan 11, 2021 at 6:12 am

I am amazed that so many people can't recognize the "lip service" from the government of the day. Nothing to do with the party in "power".
Please, when ready, with all the supply on hands and the mobile team on the road to the communities, then, only then should they announce anything at all.

Up 21 Down 1

Josey Wales on Jan 11, 2021 at 4:13 am

Hey on a happy and completely unrelated note...
Arlo, the new years baby...purdy cute wee bundle of joy.

A bundle of joy in a very unjoy time.
Congrats & Welcome Arlo.

Up 8 Down 21

Atom on Jan 10, 2021 at 3:42 pm

@Neg Nellie's...

Try getting vaccines in a world trying to get vaccines.
Try listening instead of twisting the words of any politician.
Try being a politician.
Curry hasn't even been elected yet!
Here's to all getting (or deciding not to get) a dose of vaccine in the next while so we can be ready to live like we used to...maybe by this time next year.
Relax you bunch of whiners. Exercise, eat well and get plenty of rest.
Maybe watch a hockey game where your mentality can live vicariously.
Is someone spell/ grammar checking for Wilf....because his drivel is well delivered these days. Oh, and he Reallllly wants to be a politician!
Good luck to all you paper readers...all knowers all seeers.....

Up 11 Down 48

Rolf on Jan 10, 2021 at 3:39 pm

The Liberals have been just amazing with the whole procurement and roll-out of the Covid vaccine that it may secure them another term. We're in this together during these unprecedented times.

Up 42 Down 4

Groucho d'North on Jan 10, 2021 at 9:28 am

In their zeal to get positive messages into media and the public, it seems the Federal Liberals applied the 80% rule in their calming comments about the vaccine acquisition and downstream distribution; the same comments and illusions of a plan that were parroted by all provincial and territorial politcians as they can only share what they were told from on high in Ottawa. Now after some real life speedbumps where deals with suppliers are being revisited and changes are being made, Trudeau is loath to say their plans were half-baked and made public before everything was confirmed.
Since this whole pandemic started, there have - in my opinion - been far too many politicians involved. Well known for not sticking to factual statements they tell the public what they want to hear rather than what they need to know. I don't expect things to change anytime soon. I feel for the rank and file workers who are getting s**t they don't deserve from a disappointed public. Please be kind to our healthcare workers, it's not their fault.

Up 31 Down 26

Foc on Jan 10, 2021 at 8:13 am

Come on Curry. You promised a new way of doing politics. All you do is whine. It’s getting old. Many will remember your role in the previous government, so best to stand by what you said when your party elected you leader or risk alienating votes from moderates. I thought you’d know better.

Up 32 Down 4

Wilf Carter on Jan 10, 2021 at 8:01 am

Did Canada get their $500 million deposit back from China on the purchase of the vaccine they can't supply? Deposits must be put up front on any purchase of drugs.

Up 36 Down 4

Crunch on Jan 9, 2021 at 6:17 pm

The plan was to corral enough vaccine and then snap the election in April. They couldn't contain themselves with the photo ops and excitement. The rationalization was so bang on. A low density area and population to match and with basically no covid should get the vaccine first.(??) Sometimes it's harder to detect " Political Blow" but this vaccine roll out was an easy one.

Up 35 Down 9

Dave on Jan 9, 2021 at 4:15 pm

Meanwhile prisoners are now receiving Covid-19 vaccinations in federal prisons that haven’t had any cases courtesy of the Liberals. Canadian Press.

Up 36 Down 9

Joe on Jan 9, 2021 at 3:06 pm

@bnr.. if you think currie is in the back seat you obviously don't get out much. Maybe take a walk and talk to anyone. We've seen more of and from Currie in the last six months than Sandy in past five years (not counting photo ops lol).

Up 36 Down 4

DL on Jan 9, 2021 at 2:28 pm

Meanwhile, don’t count on the government for information on boosting one’s immune system. Their focus on creating a perception of scarcity of vaccines, and so-called ‘new covid cases’, will result in raising anxiety levels among people, which is bad for your health.

Here’s how to boost your immune system: quit smoking, daily walks in fresh air and sunshine, good night’s sleep, avoid stress, and eat healthy food rich in Vitamin C and D (fresh fruits & vegies, salmon, etc). Nutritional supplements for Vitamin C & D can also help, as well as Zinc supplements (always adhere to recommended dosage). Also very important to maintain a positive attitude and kindness. It really works.

Up 46 Down 3

Wilf Carter on Jan 9, 2021 at 2:05 pm

Sandy I thought you are a math teacher. 7200 doses equal helping 3300 people with two doses each. 3300 x 2 = 6600 doses. What about the other 600 doses? So that would mean 300 more people get two doses right? Who are the other 300 people who are getting doses? What about the people who are in danger of dying if they get CV19?
Yukoners do you think this government is giving you the real goods of information? Oh yes, plastic bags are more important than anything else to this government at this time.

Up 47 Down 1

Al on Jan 9, 2021 at 1:33 pm

My own assessment here is that we have a very poor communication strategy to begin with emanating out of YTG. It should not have taken 11 days to articulate an implementation/schedule plan. It should not have take seven days to administer the first round. After 12 days we should have been knee deep in providing immunization, not just 16%. Instead we have a government that whines to the citizenry about all the protocols that we as individuals must follow when they themselves can not get their collective act together to put into place a simple schedule! We are not kicking into anywhere near a higher gear until another 2-3 weeks from now.

This is not rocket science. The federal government is right to criticize the junior jurisdictions that are diddling away in not get the vaccine out. It was these same jurisdictions that were all over the Feds (and rightfully so) for the cumbersome efforts to date. Now they (including this outfit) are showing their own ineptitude.

You do not have to be a political animal to see indifference and/or incompetence when it is so obvious. Frankly, I am beyond disappointed with the "roll out (or lack thereof)". Now I expect we will see the governments fan club coming to the faltering aid over their brethren. They do their usual shouting and screaming about the evils of being anything but a Liberal.

Up 22 Down 3

Al on Jan 9, 2021 at 1:20 pm

@BNR: "People want guarantees on supply lines that are not in our governments control, and when those guarantees aren’t met, people (and opposition leaders) start whining."
I rarely weigh in on stupidity - but WOW did you leave the door open BNR. Anyone that has worked in logistics knows the golden rule "never promise something that is beyond your ability to control the outcome".

This is exactly what this government did wrong! We will have this. We will have that. We shall see this happen. When you make assumptions predicated on unconfirmed data then you are leaving yourself open to criticism when it falls apart. Own up to your mistakes and stop making excuses when "you" were not in the drivers seat to begin with. You deserve all the criticism coming your way. I know this may hurt your ego BUT not everyone is a Liberal and not everyone supports other parties either. Most people just use common sense.

Next time, before spouting off, do your homework.

Up 42 Down 12

Jake the Bosun on Jan 9, 2021 at 10:46 am

I love the joke;
Question; Who do I have to kill to get a COVOID shot?
Answer; "Anybody."

Somebody (?) told Canadians months ago not to worry they had bought enough vaccine to do the whole country.
That turned out to be a purchase order given to China.
At the same time our country was lecturing China on our values in regards to human rights, and we had jailed one of their most important business people.
I have heard a story that 'we', have ordered 100,000,000 million doses intending to give them away to needy countries. Is that typical of someone?
Is any of this not true?
There is no point in laying blame here I think. We are the ones who put that someone in charge. They have behaved in a consistent manner for all twelve years. We had a lot of warning of what that persons priorities were, and there is no evidence they have changed.
So where do we go from here?
Most of us feel hurt, not from the restrictions we have been subject too but from the hypocrisy in our leadership. And our leadership is only a reflection of our current culture. And we have allowed our culture to get here for many reasons, but mostly it was us who allowed this absurdity to take seed.

Up 34 Down 22

Oya on Jan 9, 2021 at 8:16 am

Happy to hear they are fining those that don't follow the rules.

Up 23 Down 39

BnR on Jan 9, 2021 at 6:32 am

People want guarantees on supply lines that are not in our governments control, and when those guarantees aren’t met, people (and opposition leaders) start whining.
It’s like critical thought is in short supply.
If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a back seat driver, and Currie certainly assumes that role.

Up 23 Down 14

Juniper Jackson on Jan 9, 2021 at 3:46 am

uh huh.. the safe 7.. working so well.

Up 44 Down 2

DMZ on Jan 8, 2021 at 9:19 pm

This whole thing around the second doses is confusing. Pauline Frost said they were using all 7,200 shots now and Sandy Silver immediately contradicted her and said the opposite. This writer follows what Frost said and calls it "gambling". It's not gambling unless there's a point where the federal government can't get the vaccines from Moderna, and they have commitments from Moderna for a lot more than the provinces or territories seem to be able to use.

As far as I can see, they're talking about using everything they have for first shots and the next shipments will be used for second shots, and they're scheduled within the time frame. That makes more sense to me than leaving half in the freezer unnecessarily. I could be wrong, I don't think they're explaining the "plan" very well, so who knows.

Premiers ganging up on the federal government and saying they can't run a vaccine program till they know for sure the vaccines are there -- please. They were supposed to be ready to receive them and it's pretty clear they weren't. I just don't get it.

I'd be apprehensive that the pharma companies, or maybe provinces, or even other countries, will look at vaccines sitting in freezers for weeks and call it hoarding. Talk about a first world problem. "We have 7,200 vaccines but we need more, more, more, or why bother?"

Up 81 Down 6

Karl on Jan 8, 2021 at 6:34 pm

If you're going to stand up at the airport, taking credit for the vaccine arriving, you have to also expect to take the blame when the plan goes off the rails.

Up 50 Down 27

Matthew on Jan 8, 2021 at 5:05 pm

Well.. who could have seen this coming? Everyone who was paying attention to the LIEberals false promises for the past years. Life as we knew it will never come back, stop pretending it will.. It will of course if we stop following the unelected UN and WHO.

Up 28 Down 34

moe on Jan 8, 2021 at 4:17 pm

They are doing the best they can! I think the decision to provide 7200 people with an 80% efficiency rate, and an expectation that they can boost that to 95%, is the right move. Everything is 'if the stars align' when it comes to this covid thing.

I think they should have been ready to start the vaccines the day after arrival, but other than that do not see any slip ups the local team has done. I'm cool with what's going on here and do not expect absolute perfection.

Up 89 Down 49

Yukoner1 on Jan 8, 2021 at 3:09 pm

More incompetence from the Liberal party government. Great.

Up 67 Down 89

Enough on Jan 8, 2021 at 3:05 pm

Instead of constantly criticizing why doesn’t the YuCon Party do something to help Yukoners?
These idiots see literally everything as a partisan issue. This is a GLOBAL pandemic. I guess Currie wants to emulate the GOP and we all know how that ends.

Up 84 Down 8

J2 on Jan 8, 2021 at 2:52 pm

What happens if the second doses do not arrive in time?

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