Give us more vaccine, local Health Unit tells Province

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‘Without an increase in our Health Unit’s allotted COVID-19 vaccine supply, we aren’t able to do this’

The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is blaming the lack of vaccine from the Province, for the reason this district is so far behind others in vaccinating seniors.

“In spite of the provincial announcement to start to book individuals 75 to 79 years of age, the Health Unit does not have adequate vaccine to open up vaccinations beyond the phase 1 priorities,” says a news release. “Booking of phase 2 priority vaccinations, which includes seniors aged 60-79 years of age, will begin when the majority of phase 1 vaccinations are near completion.”

“We want to stay in line with the rest of the province,” stated Andrea McLellan, Director of COVID-19 Immunization. “Without an increase in our Health Unit’s allotted COVID-19 vaccine supply, we aren’t able to do this. Though we understand that vaccine allocation was targeted at hot spots earlier this year, we are hopeful the provincial government will increase supply to our region in order to make up for the earlier disparity.”

BayToday asked MPP Vic Fedeli that question, but was passed off to the Ministry of Health.

“The province aims to achieve a balanced and equitable distribution of vaccines to health units, but recognize that these rates may vary over time,” said Ministry spokesman Lindsay Davidson. “As vaccine delivery and availability stabilizes, future allocations will be more in line with the population of each health unit, while taking into consideration additional priority populations based on local and emergent needs and consistent with the ethical framework.”

Davidson passed the buck to the feds.

“We look forward to distributing more vaccines as we receive more supply from the federal government,” he said in an emailed response.

Meanwhile, Premier Doug Ford, yesterday called the federal government’s handling of the vaccine procurement “a joke.”

The comment came after being asked about discrepancies in Ontario’s efforts to distribute vaccines to local public health units on a per capita basis.

Ford claimed the root cause of any vaccine shortage at the municipal level is the federal government’s procurement process.

“We do not have enough vaccines from the federal government and it’s a joke,” the premier said. “Fifty-fifth in the world.”

The feds are responsible for obtaining vaccines and then passing them out to the provinces. The provincial governments are then responsible for creating a distribution framework and delivering them to local health units.

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