2 Vancouver residents break COVID-19 rules, get vaccines in Yukon
Individuals travelled to Beaver Creek, got Moderna vaccine on Thursday, territory officials said
Two Vancouver residents travelled to Beaver Creek, Yukon, on Thursday and were able to get doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the mobile vaccination clinic there.
Yukon Community Services Minister John Streicker, who said he learned about the situation late Thursday, confirmed the news to CBC on Friday.
"I'm very, very frustrated," he said.
According to Streicker, the two individuals filled out self-isolation declaration forms upon entering Yukon but then didn't comply with them.
Members of the mobile clinic team alerted Yukon Civil Emergency Measures Act (CEMA) officers about the situation after the fact, according to Streicker.
Two intercepted at Whitehorse airport
Officers were then able to intercept the individuals at the Whitehorse airport. The minister couldn't confirm if they were leaving the territory at the time.
A man and a woman from Vancouver have since been charged with two counts each under the CEMA — failure to self-isolate, and failure to follow a declaration.
The maximum fine for CEMA violations is a $500 fine for each charge, and up to six months in jail, or both.
Streicker said the government immediately alerted Yukon RCMP about what happened.
He could not confirm how the two were able to travel to Beaver Creek, which is near the Alaska border about 450 kilometres northwest of Whitehorse.
Allowances for out-of-territory vaccinations
He said the fact that the two didn't have Yukon health cards wouldn't have excluded them from getting Moderna doses.
There are Yukon residents who still hold out-of-territory health cards, he explained, and there are also certain allowances for workers from out-of-territory to get vaccinated.
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"I don't think the problem is so much that a couple of vaccines have been used up that were meant for Yukoners," Streicker said.
"I think the problem is if someone thinks that they can come here to get a vaccine, that concerns me, and if they do so in a way that puts people at risk, that really concerns me, so I'm sure there'll be lots of conversation to come."
I'm pretty angry at the whole thing.- Yukon Community Services Minister John Streicker
"I'm really upset at these individuals," he said. "Effectively what they did was they put our community and our isolation team at risk.
"I'm pretty angry at the whole thing."
Yukon is currently prioritizing vaccinations for people in care homes, jails and border communities, like Beaver Creek, because there's a greater risk of people travelling in and out of the territory.
Streicker said he's spoken to health and social services deputy minister Stephen Samis, as well as the mobile vaccination teams about the situation, and that the government is looking for other ways to "be alert" and prevent a situation like this from happening again.
- A previous version of this story stated that the maximum penalty for a violation under Yukon's Civil Emergency Measures Act is a fine of $500 or six months in jail. In fact, it can also be both.Jan 25, 2021 11:08 AM CT