Vaccinations started today at Whistle Bend Place in Whitehorse. This marks the start of a territory-wide immunization campaign that will be the most comprehensive vaccine program ever delivered in Yukon.
Agnes Mills, age 84, is a resident at Whistle Bend Place and was the first to receive the vaccine. Mills is a Vuntut Gwitchin Elder from Old Crow. Mills was inducted into the Order of Yukon last month for her lifelong work to advance the rights of Indigenous people.
The second recipient was another resident, Mary Merchant, age 103. Merchant was born in Scotland and survived the influenza pandemic of 1918 to 1920. She moved to Yukon in 1995 and has loved her life here ever since. Merchant trained as a nurse and is strongly supportive of vaccinations. She has continued her role as a nurse to this day cautioning us to social distance and follow the public health directives.
The third vaccine went to Jun Carpina, a domestic aide who works in the home. Carpina has worked there since the home opened in 2017. Carpina has lived in Yukon for 14 years; originally, he is from the Philippines.
Over the next few weeks, the vaccine will continue to roll out to priority populations as directed by Yukon’s COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy.
Today is a day filled with hope for our territory. The first Yukoners to receive the vaccine will be our most vulnerable to COVID-19 and those who care for them. In the coming weeks and months, all adult Yukoners will have the opportunity to receive the vaccine and help bring us one step closer to ending the pandemic. Everyone who receives the vaccine is choosing to protect themselves and everyone around them.
Minister of Health and Social Services Pauline Frost
Throughout the pandemic, we have asked Yukoners to make choices to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. The best thing we can do now is to choose to vaccinate when it is our turn. This vaccine will save lives and will protect our most vulnerable. Over time, it will allow us to return to a normal life, but now is not the time to let our guard down. Stay vigilant, continue to practice the Safe 6 plus 1, and get ready to roll up your sleeve.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley
When I was 13, I was in a residential school and there was a tuberculosis epidemic. I caught it and was in the hospital for three years. I never fully recovered and have been unwell all my life. I got the vaccine today because I am worried about what a COVID-19 infection would do to me. I am almost 85 years old and want to continue my life – to be here for my family, my children and my grandchildren. I care for mankind and would like to see us overcome this virus.
Elder Agnes Mills, first Yukoner vaccinated
Yukon received its first shipment of vaccine on December 28, 2020. This shipment included 7,200 doses. Yukon’s COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy will guide vaccinations.
Priority groups after long-term care will include high-risk health care staff and other vulnerable populations.
Yukon is expected to receive enough doses of the Moderna vaccine to vaccinate 75 per cent of the adult population by the end of March.