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COVID-19 Vaccination

All Nunavummiut four years of age and older, and some Nunavummiut aged six months to four years old, are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Currently, Nunavut offers:

  • Moderna SPIKEVAX® for Nunavummiut aged 6 months and over.
  • Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty mRNA vaccines for those aged 5 and over. 

As of July 15, 2022, COVID-19 vaccinations will begin to be available for children who meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Four years old.
  • Between six months old and four years old and:
    • Are considered to be immunocompromised;
    • Have severe lung disease;
    • Are on long-term steroid treatment; and/or
    • Are undergoing treatment for cancer.

Boosters:

  • Aged 18 and older – Anyone 18 years of age and older can get their second COVID-19 booster shot (fourth dose).
  • Aged 12 and older – All Nunavummiut 12 years of age and older can continue to get their booster shot (third dose) following the second dose (six months for ages 12 to 17 and 1.5 months for 18 and over) of the vaccine.
  • Aged 12 and older – Nunavummiut 12 years of age and older who have tested positive for COVID-19 are suggested to wait three months after you show symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19 (if asymptomatic) before getting your booster shot.
  • Immunocompromised children – Children aged 5 and up who are moderately or severely immunocompromised and have tested positive are suggested to wait 4-8 weeks after showing symptoms or test positive (if asymptomatic) before getting their primary vaccination series.
  • Immunocompromised children – Children aged 5 to 11 who are moderately or severely immunocompromised can get a third dose in their primary series 4-8 weeks after their second dose. This only applies to children 5 to 11 who are immunocompromised and not to the general 5 to 11 population at this time.
  • A longer time between infection and vaccination may result in a better protection from the disease. Questions about vaccines can also be directed to the COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. EST.

Read our infographic here.

Changes and Announcements

Please note that changes or announcements related to vaccines in Nunavut will be announced via this webpage, GN social media, and through a public health advisory or news release.  

Frequently Asked Questions

When will the vaccine be available to children under five years old? 
Moderna SPIKEVAX is now available for children ages 6 months to aged five. On July 14, 2022, Health Canada announced the availability of vaccines for this age group. On July 15, Nunavut announced that these vaccines will be rolled out to this age group in priority order, beginning with children who are four years old, or, children who are between six months old and four years old who are considered to have an immunocompromised, have severe lung disease, are on long-term steroid treatment and/or are undergoing treatment for cancer. 

Can children aged 6 months to 5 years old get a booster?
At this time, there is no booster recommendation from Health Canada available for children aged 6 months to five years old. The GN is monitoring developments and will provide an update when new information is available.

Am I eligible for a second booster dose? 
Some jurisdictions are giving second booster doses to certain age groups. The Government of Nunavut has authorized second booster doses for all Nunavummiut 18 and older.

Will I require a booster every year for COVID-19? 
The GN is watching the evidence around COVID-19 vaccines closely and making decisions based on best practices and the science. It could be the case that the COVID- 19 vaccines, similar to influenza vaccines, will have boosters administered annually. 


The first vaccine available in Nunavut was Moderna’s mRNA vaccine, which was later renamed SPIKEVAX. mRNA, stands for messenger RNA and is like a blueprint or recipe for one kind of protein your body manufactures. The Moderna vaccine delivers mRNA and teaches your body to make the proteins that will help defend you against COVID-19. mRNA vaccines cannot give you COVID-19 because they do not contain any part of the COVID-19 virus.

The Moderna vaccine is given in two doses – at least 21 days apart – and will be offered free to all eligible Nunavummiut.

Before approval, Moderna studied on 30,000 people, and was shown to be 94% effective at reducing the severity of infection due to COVID-19. While the vaccine does help reduce the risk of transmission, even after vaccination people can still spread the virus. Getting vaccinated is important to minimize the risk of transmission and to prevent severe illness in those infected. Even when vaccinated people should continue to follow public health measures

such as mask-wearing and hand-washing. These health measures are also effective at preventing most other respiratory infections.

It is important that Nunavummiut inquire with their local health professionals prior to receiving the vaccine if immunocompromised, suffer from an autoimmune disease or have allergies to one or more ingredients in the vaccine.

Update for children six months old to five years old:

Safety, efficacy, and immunogenicity data for SPIKEVAX in children was done in a two-part clinical trial conducted in the United States and Canada. The trial included over 6,400 participants 6 months through 5 years of age who received at least one dose of SPIKEVAX or placebo. There were no safety concerns identified in the trials. The most common reactions were similar to the ones children experience for other pediatric vaccines like pain at the site, sleepiness and loss of appetite. The vaccine is safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 in children between 6 months and 5 years of age.

  • Six months old to five years old: For children six months of age to five years of age, each dose in the primary vaccination series is 25 micrograms and given four weeks apart.
  • Six years old to 11 years old: For children 6 to 11 years of age, each dose is 50 micrograms and given four weeks apart.
  • 12 years old and up: For individuals 12 years of age and older, each dose is 100 micrograms and given four weeks apart.

 

Ingredients:

Medicinal ingredients:

  • (mRNA)

Non-medicinal ingredients:

  • acetic acid
  • cholesterol
  • DSPC (1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine)
  • PEG2000-DMG(1,2-dimyristoyl-rac-glycerol,methoxy-polyethyleneglycol)
  • lipid SM-102
  • sodium acetate trihydrate
  • sucrose
  • trometamol
  • trometamolhydrochloride
  • water for injection

 Moderna Vaccine side effects:

  • Pain at the injection site.
  • Tiredness.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle ache and stiffness.
  • Chills.
  • Fever.
  • Swelling or redness at the injection site.
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes.

These are not all the possible side effects you may have when taking Moderna SPIKEVAX COVID-19 Vaccine. If you experience any side effects not listed here, tell your healthcare professional.

Should you develop any serious symptoms or symptoms that could be an allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  • Hives (bumps on the skin that are often very itchy).
  • Swelling of the face, tongue or throat.
  • Difficulty breathing.

The most frequently reported reactions for children under 5 were irritability/crying, pain, sleepiness, and loss of appetite. Fatigue remained the most frequently reported systemic adverse reaction in those older than 37 months.

Vaccination providers are prepared to quickly treat allergic reactions.

 


About the Pfizer Comirnaty Vaccine

Pfizer-BioNTech was the first COVID-19 vaccine available in Nunavut to youth between the ages of 12 and 17 and now children aged 5 to 11.. Pfizer, later renamed to Comirnaty is an mRNA vaccine, like Moderna, which teaches your body to manufacture a specific type of protein that will be used to help you develop a defense against COVID-19. Pfizer can also be given to adults

The Pfizer vaccine is given in two doses – 21 days apart – and is offered free to all eligible Nunavummiut between the ages of 5 and 17. If needed, Due to supply, Nunavut will be receiving only enough vaccine initially to administer one dose to 5- to 11-year-olds. To ensure enough vaccine is available, Nunavut will schedule second doses eight weeks after the first dose until supply is stable. Eight weeks between doses, falls under the guidelines from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization for effective protection agaisnt COVID-19.

Immunity develops over time. It takes about 2 weeks to develop significant protection against COVID-19. For the greatest protection, you will need more than one dose.

Initial Pfizer clinical trials included 38,000 people aged 16 and older and later trials added another 2,260 children aged 12 to 15. Prior to approval for children aged 5 to 11, clinical trails were done that included 3,000 children. This vaccine

has been shown to be over 95% effective at reducing the severity of infection due to COVID-19. While the vaccine does help reduce the risk of transmission, even after vaccination people can still spread the virus. Getting vaccinated is important to minimize the risk of transmission and to prevent severe illness in those infected. Even when vaccinated people should continue to follow public health measures such as mask-wearing and hand-washing. These health measures are also effective at preventing most other respiratory infections.

It is important that Nunavummiut inquire with their local health professionals, prior to receiving the vaccine if immunocompromised, suffer from an autoimmune disease or have allergies to one or more ingredients in the vaccine.

Ingredients (12 years old and up)

Medicinal ingredient

  • mRNA

Non-medicinal ingredients

  • ALC-0315 = ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate)
  • ALC-0159 = 2-[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide
  • 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine
  • cholesterol
  • dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate
  • monobasic potassium phosphate
  • potassium chloride
  • sodium chloride
  • sucrose
  • water for injection

Ingredients (5 to 11 years old)

  • lipids (4- hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate)
  • 2[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]- N,N-ditetradecylacetamide
  • 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine,
  • cholesterol),
  • sucrose,
  • tromethamine,
  • tromethamine hydrochloride.
  • sodium chloride
  • water for injection

Side Effects

  • Pain at the site of injection.
  • Body chills.
  • Feeling tired.
  • Feeling feverish.
  • Swelling or redness at the injection site.
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes.

These are not all the possible side effects you may have when taking Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. If you experience any side effects not listed here, tell your healthcare professional.

Should you develop any serious symptoms or symptoms that could be an allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

Hives (bumps on the skin that are often very itchy).
Swelling of the face, tongue or throat.
Difficulty breathing.

Vaccination providers are prepared to quickly treat allergic reactions.

Resources

About the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

About the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics: What to Expect