InnisfilToday received the following letter from Barrie Innisfil NDP Riding Association president Pekka Reinio on regarding the need to get ahead of the game when it comes to COVID-19 vaccination.
Many public health experts predict that we are about to enter the worst phase of the COVID pandemic as we begin flu season entering into fall and winter. Throughout this pandemic, Doug Ford has displayed little enthusiasm for long-term planning, and it shows. Currently, Ontarians cannot get tested for COVID or get their results in a timely manner. We have a large testing backlog, flu vaccines are in limited supply, high-dose flu vaccines for seniors are scarce, contact tracing has broken down, and we still have no iron ring around LTC homes.
If and when a COVID vaccine does become available, there’ll be many challenges in rolling out a program to get Ontarians vaccinated. Doug Ford needs to start planning now, as a mass vaccination delivery program isn’t as simple as it may seem and will present many hurdles.
To stop the spread of COVID, we will need high rates of vaccination for people of all ages. Last year, influenza vaccinations were administered to only 42 per cent of Canadians.
What percentage of Ontarians are they aiming to vaccinate?
What is the plan to secure enough vaccines to reach our vaccination targets?
How will the government prioritize the roll out of vaccines?
Have Doug Ford and Christine Elliott created a committee to advise the government on the roll out of a COVID vaccine?
What is the contingency plan if we don’t see the expected results from the vaccine?
How will we manage the distribution if the vaccine requires more than a single dosage?
Is the distribution of a vaccine going to go through existing methods, or are we going to require an entirely new model as seen in England, where a hub-and-spoke model is being organized with mass vaccination centres, mobile sites and roving teams.
Our current flu vaccination program relies on pharmacies (giving out 35 per cent of vaccines) and doctor’s offices (giving out 33 per cent of vaccines). Do we have enough trained people and enough facilities to deliver vaccines to stop the continued spread of COVID-19?
These are the kinds of questions Doug Ford and his health advisory team need to address right now. The safety of all Ontarians requires that the Ford Conservatives plan ahead. Relying on wishful thinking and pleading with folks to act is not a plan.
To roll out a successful vaccination program, the Conservatives need to be proactive, transparent, and begin planning for all eventualities now.
President, Barrie Innisfil NDP Riding Association