People who are isolating in the Northwest Territories can now get a COVID-19 vaccine without needing an exemption letter first, according to the territory's Department of Health and Social Services.
The relaxation of this COVID-19 measure, announced Tuesday, comes with some exceptions.
People will still need to get a letter from Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola to get the shot if they've been identified as a contact of a confirmed or suspected case, if they have COVID-19 symptoms, or if they're returning from international travel, said a statement from the health department.
"This authorization is specific to obtaining COVID-19 vaccination only; visiting businesses or attending other activities while in isolation is not permitted," it read. "Individuals will be required to wear a mask while in public and during the appointment."
The health department is also backing a recommendation from The National Advisory Committee on Imunization (NACI), which states that mRNA vaccines — like Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna — are interchangeable.
"Eligible residents are encouraged to get whichever vaccine is available in their community," said the statement, which points to complex storage and handling needs as a reason why both may not be available at the same time.
Sixty-five per cent of people in the N.W.T. are fully vaccinated and 71 per cent are partially vaccinated. The health department said it has now provided vaccine opportunities to youth in all 33 communities in the territory.
This comes a day after Dr. Kandola said residents and non-essential workers are no longer required to self-isolate after returning to the territory, provided they have two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.