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MPP Fife questions Ford government on vaccine supply in the region

Fife questioned the government about the region's supply of vaccine Tuesday
CatherineFife-MPP-headshot - 2018
Catherine Fife headshot

Waterloo NDP MPP Catherine Fife questioned the Ford government Tuesday in Question Period about why our region hasn't received its fair share of vaccines. 

This comes after our region's medical officer of health suggested the same thing on Friday. 

Dr. Hsiu Li Wang said "there has not been an equitable distribution across the province, there are, for example, in some areas that have AstraZeneca now," she said. 

Fife adds that our region has said that we should have received 89,000 doses, but instead we have only received 66,000 doses.

“Why are the people of Waterloo Region not receiving their fair share?”

Minister of Health Christine Elliott responded in the exchange and suggested that it's a supply issue. 

"Well, the answer is lack of supply," said Elliott, "that's the situation for regions across Ontario. We want to be able to expand into pharmacies, there are about 325 pharmacies offering the AstraZeneca shot now, we want to expand to 700 so we can have at least three pharmacies in each region providing the vaccines, but until we receive the doses coming from the United States, we aren't able to do that because we don't have the supply." 

Elliott added that the Ford government doesn't even know when that supply will be coming.

"That's why we are asking the federal government to please provide us with this information so that we can ramp up, so that we can do those 150,000 doses per day and make sure that everyone in Ontario who wants to receive a vaccine will be able to get one."

Fife suggested that it's an issue of the provincial government distributing vaccines equally to all communities.

"This isn’t an issue of supply from the federal government. This is about the province distributing vaccines equally to all communities. It's about the provincial government following their own rules.”

Fife also hosted a town hall Monday evening where callers shared their frustration about the unfair treatment our region is receiving during the rollout process.

""There is no time to waste, the situation is urgent. Our community deserves its fair share of vaccines so we can save lives and protect our hospitals from being overwhelmed." 

Elliott suggested that vaccines are being distributed equitably across the province based on population and based on risk.

"We know that there are some neighbourhoods that are particularly at risk and they will be receiving larger amounts, but again it goes back to supply," she said, "if we don't have the supply, we can't give it to any of the 34 public health unit regions across the province, we are doing what we can based on constantly changing supply issues with the Moderna vaccine, with the AstraZeneca vaccine, there's virtually a daily re-calibration that has to happen across Ontario when we receive the news with respect to changes in supply, delays and so on. We are still doing the work that we need to do in order to make sure that every public health region across the province, all 34 of them, receive their equitable allocation of vaccines based on age and based on risk." 

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