This is an open letter to Premier Doug Ford and Ret. Gen. Rick Hillier, who is in charge of the COVID vaccine rollout in Ontario.
I am writing to you to get two essential pieces of information for the residents of the Niagara Region.
We are of the understanding that in early January a shipment of the life-saving Moderna vaccine that was destined for the Niagara Region was diverted to another location. To date the people of Niagara have not been publicly told where this life-saving shipment of Moderna vaccines was sent. I am requesting that you make that information publicly available.
Secondly, we would request to know when the residents of Niagara can expect their fair share of the Moderna vaccine as well as future doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Niagara has not been shielded from the tragic outcomes of this virus.We witnessed nearly 80 deaths in long-term care and retirement homes in the three weeks prior to our first shipment of vaccines.
As you may know, Niagara has one of the highest densities of senior citizens in the entire country. We know that this disease preys on our senior population and those in vulnerable situations. Simply put, every day the vaccines are not fairly given to Niagara is a day that our parents and grandparents are at risk.
I have heard from scores of seniors in my riding who are living at home, isolated, and in fear of contracting this deadly virus. Neither those residents nor I believe they should be prioritized over our front-line heroes but they do believe that this government should be providing more information about these vaccines.
We know that Niagara is not alone in having its vaccines diverted. We have also noted that vaccines have been diverted in Simcoe-Muskoka. In some cases, communities appear to have more information about where their vaccines were sent. We believe this information would be easy to find and produce for our residents and we echo their belief that they deserve to know it.
Gentlemen, this period has required a great sacrifice from the Niagara community. News of this nature only makes this process more difficult on residents, especially seniors. Every one of us fully understands how big of an undertaking this is but we are asking that residents be treated as a partner in this process and that our local doctors' voices be heard.
We are not asking for easy news only, we are only asking for clear and transparent updates about our vaccination program. The people of Niagara deserve to be told where their vaccines went and when they can expect to receive their fair share, anything else just compounds the frustration and isolation that people across this province are feeling.
Premier Ford and General Hillier, I know how difficult this period has been. I stand ready and willing to assist you in any way that I can and to the fullest extent of my ability. I look forward to working with you directly to get these vaccines into Niagara.
MPP, Niagara Falls riding