Some Northerners as young as 18 will be eligible for a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine soon.

The NWT’s fourth shipment of Covid-19 vaccines will arrive in the territory in a matter of days, Health Minister Julie Green said in a news release Thursday.

The shipment will enable health authorities to begin offering the vaccine to residents 18 years of age and older in all NWT communities, except for Hay River, Inuvik and Yellowknife.

Priority populations in those three communities will be expanded to include additional frontline essential workers who cannot work remotely/from home.

“Later this week, the NWT is expecting a fourth shipment of the Covid-19 vaccine containing 16,200 doses,” Green said. “The fourth vaccine shipment will be used to continue delivering second doses to priority populations in all NWT communities, as well as first doses for those who missed the initial opportunity.”

The territory has so far received 19,100 doses of the Moderna vaccine from the federal government since the first shipment arrived on Dec. 28.

The fourth shipment will bring to 35,300 the total number of doses received by the territory.

“This is a substantial amount and I’d like to thank the federal government for supporting the NWT and remaining steadfast in its promise to deliver these vaccines to the territory,” Green said.

Despite the federal government’s announced delays in delivery of Moderna vaccines, the minister said the NWT “continues to lead the way across the country with delivery of first doses and we are on track to receive enough vaccines from the federal government for 75 per cent of our adult population by the end of March 2021.”

The fifth shipment of vaccines is anticipated to arrive by the March or early April, said chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola on Wednesday.

As of Feb. 22, 14,520 first doses of the vaccine have been administered in the NWT and 1,934 people have received their second doses, according to the GNWT’s vaccine portal.

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