Editor’s note: The following is an open letter to Premier Doug Ford from NDP MPPs from Northern Ontario.
Residents of Northern Ontario are worried that the decisions being made in Toronto in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are not fair to Northerners, particularly when it comes to vaccine distribution.
By now, we all know that Ontario has received 175,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and we are scheduled to get 240,000 more doses in the next three weeks (about 80,000 doses a week). Similarly, Ontario has received 58,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine on Dec. 28, is scheduled to receive 56,000 more doses on Jan. 11, and so on every three weeks.
Northerners want to know how many of these vaccines will make their way to Northern Ontario and when they will arrive. Northeastern Ontario has not received a single dose of vaccine and we have no fixed date for our first shipment. How can that be?
Our public health units are working hard to develop vaccination plans that respect and follow the priorities as outlined by the provincial command table.
They are leading our entire health care system, including primary care, LTC, paramedicine, pharmacists, hospitals, individual providers and municipalities to be ready to roll out the vaccines the minute they arrive.
However, they are all left with the question - when can we expect our share of the vaccines?
Some public health unit areas in the North are red zones. Fly-in First Nations communities are a priority, and yet, no one knows when either vaccine will arrive. Northerners expect better from their government.
Premier, tell us, when will our shipment of vaccines arrive and how many doses we can expect!
France Gélinas, MPP Nickel Belt
Gilles Bisson, MPP Timmins,
Guy Bourgouin, MPP Mushkegoquk-James Bay
Sol Mamakwa, MPP Kiiwetinoong
Michael Mantha, MPP Algoma-Manitoulin
Judith Monteith-Farrell, MPP Thunder Bay-Atikokan
John Vanthof, MPP Timiskaming-Cochrane
Jamie West, MPP Sudbury