COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive in Remote Communities Along Labrador’s North Coast


Elder Willie Ford became the first resident in Labrador’s Nunatsiavut region to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The Moderna vaccine was administered to Ford by public health nurse Betty Sampson on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021 at 9:18 a.m. Pictured, from left: Nunatsiavut Government Ordinary Member for Makkovik, John Andersen; Elder Willie Ford; Public health nurse Betty Sampson; and Makkovik’s AngajukKak Barry Andersen of the Makkovik Inuit Community Government. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Government of Nunatsiavut

Inuit Elder Willie Ford has become the first person in Labrador’s Nunatsiavut region to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Labrador’s Inuit government said in a news release Ford received the Moderna vaccine at 9:18 a.m. in Makkovik, a town of about 375 people along Labrador’s north coast.

Makkovik’s AngajukKak, or mayor, Barry Andersen, said today on Twitter the vaccination marks a historic day for the community and the region, given the devastating impacts of the 1918 Spanish flu, which killed about a third of Labrador’s Inuit population.

He also notes that despite the region’s vulnerabilities, there have been zero cases of COVID-19 reported in the area since the pandemic first arrived in Newfoundland and Labrador last spring.

Like the four other Inuit communities along Labrador’s north coast, Makkovik is not connected to the rest of the province by road and access to health care in the region is difficult.

The Nunatsiavut Government asked visitors to those areas to isolate for 14 days and some communities asked visitors to stay out entirely.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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