QUEEN’S PARK — Despite having 90,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines ready to go in Ontario, the Ford government has only vaccinated about 11,000 people, according to the government’s website.
Andrea Horwath and the NDP are calling for the province to accelerate vaccinations urgently, and publicly release the full vaccination schedule and detailed plan.
Over the Christmas break, vaccination centres were closed. This has generated political fireworks.
“It’s disheartening and frustrating to know that tens of thousands of life-saving vaccine doses have been sitting in freezers,” said Horwath. “Vaccine supplies have been available in Ontario for more than two weeks, yet instead of an urgent mobilization to get the vaccine into the arms of people who need it most, we’re seeing the government struggle to figure out how to move this life-saving vaccine out.
“How many more people will get sick or die from COVID-19 as a result of these delays? How much further will the spread get?”
Ontario’s vaccine task force didn’t meet for the first time until Dec. 4. Vaccinations have stalled over the last several days with only five of 17 vaccination clinics operating over the holidays. That’s despite Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) head Doris Grinspun contacting the government to say there are nurses available and willing to help. The head of the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA), Anthony Dale, wrote on social media that he doesn’t believe the ramp-down in delivering shots was planned.
“At this stage, people should have answers to basic questions about how and when the vaccine is being rolled out, not more excuses and political talking points from Doug Ford and his government,” said Horwath.
The NDP believes all Ontarians should have access to information including the priority order of all long-term care and congregate care settings, how people are being notified when they are eligible for the vaccine, how proof-of-vaccination is going to work, benchmark timeline goals and more.
The Globe and Mail has reported that University of Toronto researchers have presented data to the province showing that withholding the second dose of each person’s two-dose course of the vaccine is the wrong call. Changing that policy would mean another 80,000 people can be vaccinated immediately, knowing more doses are on the way.