Work is continuing to get northern residents vaccinated against COVID-19.

Dr. Nnamdi Ndubuka, medical health officer for the Northern Inter Tribal Health Authority (NITHA) said so far the vaccine roll out is going well.

Ndubuka explained some locations are having more success then others when it comes to getting people to accept vaccinations.

“Some communities have been able to increase uptake, some communities are still struggling with vaccine hesitancy or vaccine resistance as the case may be,” he said.

According to NITHA so far 27 per cent of northern residents who are eligible have got their first dose of the vaccine. As of last week over eight thousand doses of vaccine had been given out.

When it comes to dealing with the issues of vaccine hesitancy and resistance, Ndubuka said the health authority is using a number of methods to try and reach people. This includes advertising on local radio stations and also using social media. However, some communities are using different methods to get information out.

“Some have used word of mouth and also using elders to communicate to their community members,” said Ndubuka.

While the number of active cases of COVID-19 has overall been trending in the right direction and decreasing, Ndubuka said there are still challenges, specifically in regards to variants of concern.

“The number of the variants of concern are increasing and that is the main threat to the northern communities,” he said.

Ndubuka said NITHA communities have so far seen 21 COVID-19 cases which are considered to be variants of concern. One of these cases was the variant originally found in the United Kingdom, while the lineage of the other 20 has not yet been determined.

“Majority of the variants of concern that we have reported are within the communities of in the far northwest, so that constitutes almost 85 per cent of our VOC cases,” he said.

According to Ndubuka the majority of the cases that involve variants of concern trace back to travel outside of the province. He added this is why the health authority is continuing to encourage people to protect themselves by taking the proper precautions.

“That’s why we are calling for caution in terms of people being more vigilante and also practicing the safety measures as provided by the public health orders,” he said.