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Premier Sandy Silver and Dr. Brendan Hanley

YG attempting to work with vaccine supply uncertainties

The Yukon government continues to improvise its vaccine rollout strategy in the face of an uncertain supply.

By Tim Giilck on January 14, 2021

The Yukon government continues to improvise its vaccine rollout strategy in the face of an uncertain supply.

At the government’s weekly COVID-19 briefing held Wednesday afternoon, Premier Sandy Silver and Dr. Brendan Hanley, the chief medical officer of health, said they were confident the territory could meet its goal of inoculating 75 per cent of the adult population willing to accept the vaccine by March or April.

A certain amount of flexibility has to be incorporated into the process, both said, because the federal government, which controls the supply, isn’t providing guaranteed fixed delivery schedules.

That’s not what Silver said the territory had arranged in December.

At that time, he and Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost indicated the territory would receive as many as 50,000 doses in a front-loaded shipment, instead of what Silver called “dribs and drabs.”

“You need to talk to Ottawa about that,” Silver said Wednesday in response to a question from the media.

Communities such as Watson Lake, Beaver Creek and Old Crow will be visited by roving mobile vaccination teams in the coming days. The government will be opening an online booking site to manage appointments.

Those bookings will rely on the information collected from Yukon health cards. Hanley said provisions were being made to allow new residents who don’t have Yukon cards to receive the shots, but he was vague on the details.

Arrangements were also being made to allow some British Columbia residents in border communities to attend the clinics.

Hanley said a service agreement exists for Lower Post, B.C., near Watson Lake, while procedures are being worked out for communities such as Atlin.

“Most people (attending the clinics) will have Yukon health cards,” Hanley said.

After the briefing, the government issued a news release that had more details than were presented at the news conference.

“A second shipment of 7,200 Moderna vaccine will arrive on January 14,” the release stated.

“As of (Tuesday), 685 residents and staff in long-term care homes had received their first dose of the vaccine.

“Some Yukoners can begin registering for COVID-19 vaccinations online starting (the past Wednesday) by going to yukon.ca/this-is-our-shot,” the release said.

“Mobile vaccine clinics will be in Watson Lake on January 18, Beaver Creek on January 21, and Old Crow on January 22.

“Vaccinations will also begin in Whitehorse on January 18 for select groups.”

For these first weeks in Whitehorse, immunizations will be available to:

• high-risk health care workers who may care for or be in contact with COVID-19 patients;

• older adults (starting with 70 years and older); and

• people who are marginalized and living in group settings like the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter and Whitehorse Correctional Centre.

Starting Thursday, appointments can be booked by calling 1-877-374-0425.

The Whitehorse clinic will open to the general public beginning Feb. 10.

Until that point, access will be restricted to those in the high-risk categories listed above.

In what will be disappointing news for some people, the COVID restrictions will not be loosened immediately for people receiving the vaccine.

“Yukoners must continue following health measures, such as wearing a mask,” Hanley said.

Quarantines will still need to be observed by anyone travelling as well, Hanley said.

He doesn’t anticipate the restrictive health measures changing until “herd immunity” levels of 75 per cent of adults are reached – and that will likely be by the spring or early summer.

The case counts for the Yukon remain at 70.

Sixty-three people have recovered, one person has died (in Watson Lake in 2020) and there are six active cases. Officials have tested 6,130 people.

All of the active cases have occurred in two clusters relating to acquiring the virus by travel outside the territory, and close contacts of the travellers.

There have been three new charges since the last COVID-19 update on Jan. 7.

New Civil Emergency Measures Act charges:  

• failure to self-isolate: 1; and

• failure to wear a mask: 2.

All told, enforcement statistics show the government had received 1,317 complaints as of Tuesday:

• failure to self-isolate: 733;

• gatherings over 10 inside or 50 outside: 35

• failure to transit through the Yukon in 24 hours or stay on their designated route: 422;

• businesses failing to comply with orders: 14;

• failure to abide by declaration form or were not allowed entry into the Yukon: 18; and

• failure to wear a mask: 61

Total incoming travellers number 67,490, including:

• resident travellers: 18,114;

• B.C. residents: 15,419;

• N.W.T. residents: 506;

• other approved jurisdictions: 339;

• non-residents staying: 11,609;

• non-residents transiting: 21,407; and

• other: 99.

There have been 363 windshield decals distributed indicating out-of-territory vehicles allowed in the Yukon.

Comments (17)

Up 7 Down 2

Groucho d'North on Jan 20, 2021 at 9:47 am

Dear Editor,
I believe a more accurate headline for this article would be: YG attempting to work with Trudeau Liberal uncertainties.
Enough sugar-coating say what it is.

Up 4 Down 0

DMZ on Jan 19, 2021 at 8:27 pm

@North of 60, for some reason officials are really underplaying the good news of the vaccine, including by rattling off all the messages you listed. Apparently the results from Pfizer and Moderna are amazing, but they seem to be having a hard time letting go of the doom and gloom. Considering the over-emphasis they put on people who are reluctant to get the vaccine, it's exasperating.

I can't see why we wouldn't start noticing a difference even before "everybody" is vaccinated. But what bothers me isn't that politicians will cling to the restrictions (though I wonder about Sandy Silver) but that regular people and the medical profession will (and the latter aren't inspiring confidence when the subtext of their vaccination message is, "why bother?").

When 65 percent of people think COVID vaccinations should be mandatory, I just foresee problems coming from that mindset.

Up 8 Down 11

Sheepchaser on Jan 19, 2021 at 12:01 pm

Short answer: The vaccine reduces the number of people who have severe symptoms. This reduces the number of patients that the healthcare system must treat. This prevents the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed and folks who need ICU, medivac or other interventions when none are available dying in hallways, outside the hospital doors, in long-term care or at home.

Oxygen, ICU, hospital beds, nurses, doctors, medications, etc are all finite resources and we are making collective sacrifices to ensure they are available if needed. Yes, the virus has not taken root in our jurisdiction in the way it has others, but the risk is very real. How much closer does it have to get than remote parts of BC and Alberta for you to be able to see it coming?

Here in the Yukon, if even a few hundred or thousand get infected rapidly before monitoring reveals the community spread, our system could be overwhelmed in a matter of days or weeks. And you can’t just put a patient who is already struggling to breathe while on external oxygen on, say, a flight to Vancouver (Boyle’s law applies). So, in some ways we’re stuck with the resources we have until help (likely military medical teams) arrive and that takes time.

The Yukon also has a higher per capita population of at-risk persons and elders. Do you want taxpayers to be on the hook for compensation at the Genocide 2.0 public hearing? Maybe not, right? And that’s to say nothing of the morality of the situation.

All that being said, thank you for taking the time to question any restriction on our rights and freedoms. I appreciate it! I agree that some restrictions are a bit overboard, but the general principles behind them are logical.

Up 21 Down 14

Disappointed on Jan 18, 2021 at 8:48 am

Perhaps we should break out the tinfoil hats instead? I bet those will stop Covid-19 eh?

If wearing masks and waiting it out a little longer until the vaccine arrives is what I have to do to keep my family and others safe then so be it. This isn't about the individual, this is about the collective. If you aren't willing to give some concessions to protect others lives, what does that say about you?

Up 34 Down 13

North_of_60 on Jan 16, 2021 at 3:19 pm

According to the government if I get vaccinated:
1-Can I stop wearing my mask?
Government answers - No
2-Can they open restaurants, pubs, bars, etc., and all work as normal?
Government answers - No
3-Will I be resistant to the covid?
Government answers - Maybe, but we don't know exactly, that probably won't stop you from getting it.
4-At least I don't want to infect others anymore?
Government answers - No, you can still pass it on, possibly, no one knows.
5-If I get vaccinated, can I stop social distancing?
Government answers - No
6-If I vaccinate myself and for example my grandfather, can we hug each other?
Government answers - No
7-Will cinemas, theatres and stadiums reopen as normal thanks to vaccines?
Government answers - No
8-Will the vaccinated be able to gather?
Government answers - No
9-What is the benefit of vaccination?
Government response - The virus will not kill you / make you seriously ill.
10-Are you sure the vaccine won't kill me / make me seriously ill?
Government answers - No
11-If the virus statistically doesn't kill me anyway... Why do I have to get vaccinated?
Government answers - To protect others.
12-So if I get vaccinated, are the others 100 % sure I won't infect them?
Government answers - No
So to summarize, the 19 'vaccine'...
Does not give immunity.
Does not eliminate the virus.
Does not prevent death.
Don't guarantee you won't get it.
Doesn't stop you from getting it.
Doesn't prevent you from passing it on.
Does not eliminate the need for travel ban.
Does not eliminate the need for business closures.
Does not eliminate the need for shutdown.
Does not eliminate facemasks.
So... WTF does it really do? "

Up 16 Down 15

Douglas Martens on Jan 16, 2021 at 1:57 pm

This so called vaccine is an experimental RNA type. It is truly and unarguably experimental because it is impossible to determine long term effects in advance. Maximum testing so far is less than a year, so who knows? Not WHO for certain. Secondly deaths are going off like firecrackers in the USA Norway and Israel, to name a few countries. Please assess the risk/reward carefully before you agree to be a guinea pig for the pharma industry, my friends: https://www.zerohedge.com/covid-19/55-americans-have-died-following-covid-vaccination-norway-deaths-rise-29

Up 21 Down 19

Nathan Living on Jan 15, 2021 at 4:22 pm

I thought it was overly generous and a stretch to expect one large shipment of the vaccine.
It is what it is and the GY will roll out the vaccine as shipments arrive.

Nice to see a vaccination strategy aimed at hospital and extended care staff and vulnerable people etc.
The GY is trying hard and I cannot see how any other party could have done better.

Up 11 Down 8

DMZ on Jan 15, 2021 at 3:02 pm

Getting all the doses at once never made sense to me, given the lack of experience in a mass vaccination this size. Though I did have the impression that they were going to be delivered in the first quarter. I can't even remember if Sandy Silver said it was a done deal or it was just something he wanted. I think for a brief time he did seem to think that was going to happen. Now as it stands we're getting some delivered every week?

But I don't see how the federal government gets blamed. They had agreements for Pfizer and it's Pfizer that is backtracking for a month as they ramp up. I can see it might impact the agreements with the Yukon if they are more needed elsewhere, and with the pace the government has set, why should they sit in a freezer, while others suffer? Plus Silver has us basically in a headlock, with the emergency measures now more like, this is our life now, and they seem to like it that way.

In fact, a lot of people seem to be liking the way things are. Maybe that's why the vaccine rollout is so darn leisurely.

Up 43 Down 5

DONOVAN MCGLAUGHLI on Jan 15, 2021 at 2:18 pm

“You need to talk to Ottawa about that,” Silver said "
No sir, WE do not!!!! THAT Mr. Silver was your job. Period full stop.

Up 19 Down 5

Jake The Bosun on Jan 15, 2021 at 1:50 pm

Who didn't see this coming?
Who thinks they are going to meet their future promises?
International news sources paint a pretty bleak picture about vaccine supplies for everyone.
These guys bought into the Federal story-line because they anticipate political gain. But logic leaned against this, and still does. No one has the strength to give us objective assessments.
This might be what the whole pandemic teaches us? (If we are smart enough to remember, I fear we'll rush to buy the next snake-oil).

Up 19 Down 9

Anie on Jan 15, 2021 at 12:45 pm

To DL: lockdowns in Canada are largely based on number of people in hospital beds, and number of those in ICU. If you become critically ill, for whatever reason, those numbers will matter to you and your family.

Up 44 Down 7

Yukoner1 on Jan 14, 2021 at 6:38 pm

" “You need to talk to Ottawa about that,” Silver said "
You can't talk to your boss? We have to do it for you? Why, exactly, should we re-elect you again?

Up 13 Down 17

DL on Jan 14, 2021 at 5:57 pm

"Evidence emerges that COVID tests are faulty. FDA and CDC admit as much"
"Lockdowns around the world are based on rising numbers of positive test results, many of which are likely to be incorrect."


Up 28 Down 4

Sheepchaser on Jan 14, 2021 at 4:58 pm

Glad to see our elected leaders taking responsibility for their very public, but incorrect statements. This is a great example to our youth of how they should behave when others are counting on them. Silver’s refusal to just pass the buck to Ottawa for a blunder of his own making is inspiring.

Oh wait...

Up 22 Down 31

DL on Jan 14, 2021 at 3:15 pm

Some doctors have the integrity to tell what is really going on. We need more like that. Remember your oath "do no harm".

Up 32 Down 49

DL on Jan 14, 2021 at 2:58 pm

This is vaccine COERCION, when Brendan Hanley says he "doesn’t anticipate the restrictive health measures changing until “herd immunity” levels of 75 per cent of adults are reached – and that will likely be by the spring or early summer."

All of this is based on the false notion of 'asymptomatic transmission' of covid cases, when in fact recent studies have concluded there is no asymptomatic transmission. The overly high 75% new herd immunity threshold is untested and does not have widespread acceptance among experts. None of the 70 covid cases in the Yukon required hospitalization, their symptoms were mild if they had any.

Moreover the PCR tests used to 'diagnose' covid are unreliable and result in false positives half the time, and experts have warned against using it. And the covid death statistics have been falsified by including anyone who happens to test covid positive (with the unreliable PCR test) although they had other pre-existing conditions from which they died.

These 'covid pandemic theorists' also omit to mention the long-established reality that respiratory illnesses always rate higher during winter months, Canadian hospitals ICUs are often filled to capacity during those months, and the elderly have always been at elevated risk of dying from respiratory diseases.

These are the facts. Wake up people.

Up 48 Down 14

TMYK on Jan 14, 2021 at 2:56 pm

Hey we're so awesome you better re-elect us. Come take our picture and we will make grand promises that we will 100% be able to fulfill.

Hey now, I know we made some promises and guarantees, but you can't really expect us to do do them. It's not our fault I swear.

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