Doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 are expected to arrive in the Northwest Territories Friday.

Members of the Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on Accountability and Oversight heard Nov. 23 that the doses were on the way but that safety precautions in place in NWT schools would remain.

Dr. Kami Kandola stated that, although restrictions had been eased for NWT children’s self-isolation requirements (two weeks after the first dose and eight weeks after first dose for self isolation out of territory travel with a day 1 and day 8 test), school restrictions will remain in place.

“We still feel, given the long time it will take for children to increase to a level of protective immunity, that school restrictions need to stay in place, such as the bubbled classroom,” said Kandola. “What we do anticipate is that if we do have interjections of Covid-19, the elementary system will no longer have to have the the whole class isolate for 10 days.”

Health Minister Julie Green confirmed that once 14 days had passed after they received their first shot, a child could be exempted from self-isolation after out-of-territory travel.

“The idea is to have the vaccine distributed to each community and region in the territory, within a relatively short period of time so that health centre staff can commence their roll out plans, whether that be in schools or by other means,” said Dr. AnneMarie Pegg, territorial medical director. “But health centres and the vaccine logistics team, and the vaccine administration team, have been have been working very hard to make sure that we’re ready to roll out within a very short time after the arrival of the vaccine.”

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