Coronavirus vaccinations will soon be mandatory for public service and health care workers in the Yukon Territory, government authorities there announced on Friday, as the territory’s next-door neighbors grappled with a spike in cases.
The state of Alaska and the Northwest Territories, the province to the east of the Yukon, have “each dealt with widespread resurgence” of cases, the Yukon’s premier, Sandy Silver, said during a Covid-19 briefing on Friday. The Northwest Territories has the highest rate of active Covid-19 cases in Canada, according to national public health data.
In the Yukon, Vaccination will also be mandatory for teachers and the staff of some nongovernmental organizations that receive government funding, such as those that serve prisons and other congregate living settings.
Workers must receive both doses by Nov. 30. Starting that day, the territory will also require residents to show proof of vaccination to attend public events like theater performances or to enter recreational facilities like gyms and community centers. However, access to grocery stores, banks and other places that provide essential services will not be dependent on vaccination status.
The Yukon had 109 active Covid cases per 100,000 residents as of Friday, which is above the provincial average of 92, according to national public health data. At least 72 percent of the territory’s population was fully vaccinated as of Oct. 2, the latest data available from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows.
Yukon’s vaccination rate is in line with the national trend. Seventy-six percent of Canadians were fully vaccinated as of Oct. 2, according to national data.
“Despite our high vaccination rate, we have seen Covid-19 spread quickly and ruthlessly through our unvaccinated population,” Mr. Silver said.
Ten people have died from Covid-19 in the Yukon, a territory of more than 35,800 people that is characterized by rugged terrain and remote communities.
The Yukon Territory was the latest government at the provincial level to announce a program requiring proof of vaccination. In September, Ontario did so, following the lead of British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec. Several provinces have experienced unruly anti-vaccine protests in areas around hospitals.