COVID-19 Vaccines in Nunavut—COVID-19 vaccinations in Nunavut were quick and equitable, but weaknesses resulted in high vaccine wastage

COVID-19 Vaccines in NunavutCOVID-19 vaccinations in Nunavut were quick and equitable, but weaknesses resulted in high vaccine wastage

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Iqaluit, 30 May 2023—A report from Auditor General Karen Hogan tabled today in the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut concludes that the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Health, Department of Community and Government Services, and Department of Executive and Intergovernmental Affairs worked together to overcome significant logistical and staffing challenges to quickly deliver COVID‑19 vaccines to Nunavummiut.

The audit found that the vaccine rollout relied on a small number of health care workers and regional and territorial staff whose knowledge of the territory’s unique context facilitated the rollout. The Government of Nunavut’s approach to timely vaccinations involved flying vaccines and nurses to various communities so that eligible Nunavummiut could be vaccinated quickly. On average, it took 2 weeks to deliver vaccines to communities from the time doses arrived in the territory.

However, a pandemic plan to guide vaccination efforts was lacking, and the inefficient management systems of vaccines hampered health care workers’ efforts and contributed to the high wastage of vaccines. The Government of Nunavut delivered vaccines to the communities quickly, but it did not have the information systems needed to accurately track, monitor, and report on vaccine inventory. As a result, the Department of Health may have wasted up to 31% of the doses it received.

“To strengthen its response to future pandemics and mass vaccination efforts, the Government of Nunavut needs to set up proper information systems, including an inventory management system,” said Ms. Hogan. “This would also improve the delivery of health care services to Nunavummiut and reduce the burden on an overstretched workforce.”

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The Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut—COVID‑19 Vaccines in Nunavut is available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada website.

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