WHITEHORSE — A cabinet minister says a couple from outside Yukon travelled to a remote community in the territory this week and received doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
Community Services Minister John Streiker says he’s outraged the man and woman allegedly chartered a flight to Beaver Creek, the most westerly community in Canada near the border with Alaska, to get the shots.
Streiker says he heard Thursday night that the Canadian couple arrived in Yukon on Tuesday and declared they would follow the territory’s mandatory two-week self-isolation protocol, but instead travelled to Beaver Creek.
He says the two people have been charged under Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for failure to self-isolate and failure to behave in a manner consistent with their declaration upon arrival.
Streiker says the couple allegedly presented themselves as visiting workers, misleading staff at the mobile vaccination clinic in Beaver Creek.
He says territorial enforcement officers received a call about the couple, who were later intercepted at the Whitehorse airport trying to leave Yukon.
The maximum fine under the emergency measures act is $500, and up to six months in jail.
The RCMP have been notified, he said in an interview on Friday.
Streiker hadn’t confirmed where the couple are from, but he said they didn’t show Yukon health cards at the vaccination clinic.
Yukon has two vaccination teams that are visiting communities throughout the territory with priority going to residents and staff of group-living settings, health-care workers, people over 80 who aren’t living in long-term care, and Yukoners living in rural, remote and First Nation communities.
Beaver Creek was chosen as a priority community to receive doses of COVID-19 vaccine because it’s a remote border community, he said.
Yukon’s chief medical officer of health has indicated he believes the risk to the community as a result of the couple’s visit is low, Streiker added.
Streiker said there may be more scrutiny at vaccine clinics when people show up from outside Yukon, but officials are still working through options to prevent such a situation from happening again.
“I find it frustrating because what that does is it makes more barriers,” he said. “We’ve been trying to remove all barriers to get the vaccine for our citizens and so if there’s another sort of layer of check, I just don’t want it to make it harder for Yukoners to get their vaccines.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021.
The Canadian Press