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Vaccination efforts complete for YK shelters

About 40 people who had to evacuate the Salvation Army building on Sunday were accommodated at the Side Door shelter, said NWT Housing Corporation spokesperson Nancy Zimmerman. NNSL photo

As of Friday, public health staff completed vaccinations at Yellowknife shelters for first and second doses. 

Eligible staff and clients of Alison McAteer House, Lynn’s Place, Hope’s Haven, Salvation Army, Spruce Bough, the GNWT day shelter and the sobering Centre/day shelter received initial doses on the weekend of Jan. 15-17. 

Last week, second doses were administered. The Department of Health and Social Services (HSS) was unable to provide a figure for the total vaccinations prior to press deadline.

An additional vaccine clinic offered in the Centre Square Mall as an "overflow" site. NNSL file photo.

Due to increased health vulnerabilities and close quarters living arrangement, shelter staff and clients were made priority groups and are now among the almost 50 per cent of the NWT population who have been fully vaccinated.

Those who were not on site the days the vaccine was offered were provided assistance to book their shot at the mall clinic for a different time, said Damien Healy, HSS communications manager. 

Neesha Rao, executive director of the Yellowknife Women’s Society, said that “people who are street involved are at higher risk for contracting Covid-19 and, due to co-morbidities, at increased risk of death or serious illness from Covid-19. We were happy that Public Health made immunizing our clients a priority.”

Jason Brinson, Salvation Army executive director, has likewise said he's impressed with the government’s vaccination efforts and the way they have supported those at risk. 

Though residents of the Salvation Army make best efforts to maintain proper Covid safety precautions, Brinson said practices like social distances are not natural.  

The Salvation Army vaccination clinic, “was a really good opportunity for the people in high-risk populations,” Brinson said. He said the breadth of HSS’s offering the vaccine at all Yellowknife shelters is critical since residents of the Salvation Army, for example, “go elsewhere during the day.”

In addition to the Yellowknife shelters, Healy said other NWT shelters will complete both doses by the end of this week.