“We cannot move forward only projecting dosages available, we need more dosages sent to Niagara immediately to make appointments available for those you have prioritized.”
An Open Letter to Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott from Niagara NDP MPPs Jennie Stevens and Wayne Gates
Posted April 8th, 2021 on Niagara At Large
Dear Minister Elliott,
We are writing to you today (this April 8th, 2021) to request immediate action to address the vaccine rollout issues in Niagara that are causing great frustration to the residents we represent.
As you know, the Province for the second week in a row expanded vaccines to a younger age cohort to book appointments. Unfortunately, local public health units like Niagara’s were not given the adequate notice to get appointments into the provincial booking system.
This created a situation where our local PH units did not have time to upload new dates into the system. As such, your government announced that 60+ residents could book – yet residents who followed your instructions were immediately told there were no spaces available.
This led to great confusion amongst residents with some forgoing making any appointments and some feeling the need to travel as far away as Toronto for their vaccines. Minister – Niagara residents were told they could get vaccines in their communities and not one of them should have to drive to Toronto for this life saving vaccine.
It is not good enough that those appointments might not be uploaded until Monday. We need the Premier and Minister to direct their senior government staff to get this right and expedite the uploading of the Niagara Public Health dates, and ensure that the incoming dosages match the tentative forecasts so no more appointments have to get cancelled.
Over the last week, our Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Mustafa Hirji, Niagara Public Health and Niagara Health have quickly vaccinated over 7,000 people.
Unlike regions like Hamilton and Toronto that had many appointments unused, Niagara has had full vaccination clinics. We can happily provide more appointments if your government sends Niagara more dosages.
On Monday April 5th, when 67,000+ new people became eligible for vaccination that morning, wouldn’t have nearly that many appointments available, which left thousands of seniors frustrated and confused. Give us the vaccines and we’ll get them to these seniors, but do not tell these seniors they are eligible to book if that option is not available to them.
According to the science table, the majority of intensive care admissions in Ontario are within the age group of 60-70 years old. It is unreasonable that the Province would announce that those Niagara seniors can sign up for the vaccine, and then not upload the Niagara Public Health dates for them,
Recognizing the unique concentration of a senior population in Niagara, we are asking for you to immediately act and direct your staff to to what is right and expedite the uploading of the Niagara Public Health dates.
We fully understand how large and unprecedented of an operation this is, but this is the second week in a row that Niagara residents have faced issues that could’ve been prevented by opening the lines of communication with our local PH unit. It is imperative that we expedite the uploading of dates and include the resources to do that work.
It is why we cannot move forward only projecting dosages available, we need more dosages sent to Niagara immediately to make appointments available for those you have prioritized.
We have full faith that if the Province communicates the plan to our local experts and gives them the resources they need, we will get Niagara vaccinated.
Sincerely, (St. Catharines) MPP Jennie Stevens and (Niagara Falls) MPP Wayne Gates
CC: Hon. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario Legislative Building Queen’s Park Toronto
NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.