Nunavut health minister calls out ‘dangerous’ COVID-19 misinformation | #socialmedia

‘As we go through tough times as a territory, there’s nothing to be gained from these lies,’ says John Main

Health Minister John Main on Tuesday called out Nunavummiut who are spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines on social media and the radio. (Photo by David Venn)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Health Minister John Main is calling out people who spread “dangerous” misinformation about vaccines on social media and community radio.

He made the comments during the Government of Nunavut’s COVID-19 news conference Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, there are some Nunavummiut who are using radio or social media to spread lies regarding vaccinations,” he said, without offering any specifics. “As we go through tough times as a territory, there’s nothing to be gained from these lies.”

People who are unsure about the vaccine should be asking experts their questions, not taking information from social media, he said.

“Getting vaccinated is a personal choice. But if you don’t believe in the vaccine, please, do not put others at risk with your false information,” Main said.

On Wednesday, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. announced it would be drawing names in April to give away 25 snowmobiles — one to each community — to Nunavut Inuit who are at least five years old and fully vaccinated.

Main said he appreciates the support from Inuit organizations in encouraging Nunavummiut to get vaccinated.

“I hope to see more Nunavummiut going out, getting their shots when they can before April,” he said.

The Qikiqtaaluk leads the three regions with 72 per cent of residents being fully vaccinated. In the Kivalliq, that number drops to 67 per cent, and further to 63 per cent in the Kitikmeot, according to GN data.

Vaccination appointments in some communities have been limited due to staffing shortages, Main said on Jan. 20.

That is expected to get better, as the Health Department is planning mass vaccine clinics across the territory in the next few weeks, he said.

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