Protecting Yukon's Health

COVID-19 Vaccine Campaign

YAWC led this Vaccines are Key Campaign to address vaccine hesitancy in Yukon.

Project funding was provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada and support from One Yukon and the Yukon First Nations COVID Communications Working Group.

In our communities and around the world, everywhere we look, people are sharing their strength, resilience, and compassion in the face of the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. There's also so much hope in these challenging days trying to create a new normal in Yukon. We want to share with you some real stories of Yukoners who have decided to get vaccinated. Protecting Yukon's Health together.

To download a Vaccines are Key poster for your community, click here.

YAWC will continue to advocate for COVID-19 vaccination and help reduce barriers to clienteles. Learn more about YAWC's COVID-19 policies and supports.

YAWC-Led Initiatives

MaryAnn Dick - Why I decided to get my vaccine.

MaryAnn Dick 

To help protect my grandchildren, myself, and my children safe. I heard that it was dangerous if you didn't get vaccinated. I was uncertain at first due to how fast the vaccine came out but knew that it was important to look into, so I decided to talk to my doctor as I have underlying health conditions, and I wanted to make sure that it was safe for me to take it. 

After talking to my doctor, I called my daughter to help assure her that her fears were heard. I made sure that I was available for my daughter to talk to so that she didn't feel scared about getting vaccinated as she is a new mom. When I decided to get vaccinated, it wasn't scary as I thought it would be, and it wasn't that bad! I had a bit of a sore arm on the first day, and that was it.

What would you say to people of Watson Lake who had any questions about getting vaccinated: I would tell them to go get the 'little shot'; it could save your life! You and your family are valuable, and you need to step up and get vaccinated.

What would you say to people in the other communities around the territory who have not been vaccinated or are hesitant? Look how many people have gotten sick; it is very important to get the vaccine for the children and our elders. The vaccine will help keep our culture alive, keep our traditions - the vaccine is to keep our community and our people safe. It's important to keep all of our citizens safe to protect our land; our people, the younger generations, need to be here and need to learn how to keep the land going as it's up to them, so it's up to us to keep them safe.

-MaryAnn Dick
Watson Lake, Kaska Nation

Joy O'Brien - Why she changed her mind to get vaccinated

"My name is Joy O'Brien; I am a member of Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation. I had hesitation about receiving the COVID19 vaccine. Here is are the reasons why and what changed my mind. A few years back, I started having body symptoms that were not 'normal'; I consulted with my doctor and then my optometrist. It turned out after a long-drawn-out diagnosis process; I had a rare Autoimmune condition called VKH. VKH is rare, and it comes out through your vision. It is where your autoimmune system cannot differentiate between foreign entities and attacks your own body. I feared that the vaccine would trigger my symptoms which have been in remission since being placed on medications for 6 months.

While in hesitation mode, I had family members or close acquaintances who have come in with others who tested positive to COVID19. They had to self-monitor, and then another close family member had to even self-isolate.  This made me realize that I am not able to control those near me and their close contacts. After much research and joining a VKH support group, I was able to get the information I needed to feel comfortable that I would be doing the right thing by receiving the vaccine.

I realize that I am in control of my own health, and if I want to protect my 86-year-old father, then the best decision was to get that added protection without feeling fear, anxiety, or worried that I will pass it on to other loved ones. Please ask questions to those in the medical field if you are hesitant! Be safe."

Joy O'Brien 
Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation

Community-Led Initiatives

Chief of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation Doris Bill - The vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.

As the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to spread and cause sickness, hospitalizations, and deaths in Canada and the US, Chief Doris Bill is speaking out to the community.
Danchea. My name is Doris Bill, Chief of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation.
I am sending this message out today because we are at a tipping point.
Here is what we know:
• we have community transmission of the Delta variant in the Yukon.
• this variant is more easily passed from person to person.
• and it is targeting people who are not fully vaccinated.
As we go into fall and winter, we’re told to expect more cases.
I think we’ve already had too many cases, and we’ve seen this virus affect Yukon First Nations people more than others.
We want to get back to normal, to be able to gather again, to have in-person events and programs. And we can’t do that until everyone who can get vaccinated IS vaccinated.
If you’ve been waiting now is the time. Please get vaccinated if you can. It is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Over the summer 76 citizens were sick and sadly we lost one of our Elders. Let’s work together so this virus cannot affect our people anymore.

Shä̀w níthän, Gùnáłchîsh, Mähsi’cho, Thank you.

Jenoah Esquiro - Keeping our Elders Safe

Jenoah Esquiro

"My biggest reason for getting vaccinated is that I am learning my traditional language and learning from my Elders as they are our language carriers. It is so important to keep them safe, not only our language but also our culture." This vaccine is my small part in keeping our Elders safe, and I feel that it is my personal responsibility to do that."- "And I also have three young children, and I want to be a part of something that brings back some sense of normalcy to raising my children."

To watch her video, please click here.

-Jenoah Esquiro, Taku River, Tlingit First Nation

Sarina Primozic - Working with Elders and Youth

Sarina Primozic

"I always work with Elders and youth, and that is why I will be getting vaccinated. You too- Think about it!."

To watch her video, please click here.

-Maghąts'äsänämą (Sarina Primozic)
Haines Junction, Champagne and Aishihik First Nation

Alice Boland- Why she wants to keep her Nation safe.

" I would like to see everyone get this vaccine so that everyone in the community or First Nation or in Carmacks is safe." To watch her video, please below:

-Alice Boland
Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation

Getting vaccinated is the key to Protecting Yukon’s Health. For questions, appointment bookings, or for more information, call 1-877-374-0425 or visit

If you or someone you know needs support with a free certified Indigenous counselor, please contact Susan at the Yukon Aboriginal Women's Council at 1-866-667-6162 ext 1012.

For other mental health and wellness supports, please here.

Project Supporters:

Health Canada Logo One Yukon