NDP MPPs Andrea Horwath (Hamilton Centre), Sandy Shaw (Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas), Monique Taylor (Hamilton Mountain) and Paul Miller (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek) have written an open letter to Doug Ford urging him to reconsider his decision to exclude Hamilton from the priority regions to receive COVID-19 vaccines for long-term care homes.
Hon. Doug Ford
Premier of Ontario
Toronto ON M7A 1A1
Dear Premier Ford,
Almost 7000 Hamiltonians have contracted COVID-19, 193 of our parents, loved ones, and neighbours have lost their lives, with most deaths resulting from Long Term Care home outbreaks. Your government has committed to ensuring that all residents, health care workers and essential caregivers at long-term care homes in the priority regions of Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex receive a COVID-19 vaccination by January 21, 2021. Hamilton is the only grey zone left out of the accelerated plan.
Currently 16 homes are in outbreak including Grace Villa with 231 infections and 42 deaths and Shalom Village with 184 cases and 19 deaths. Why does Hamilton or any community have to wait to receive vital support? No long-term care home should be considered a non-priority. With more than 100,000 vaccines sitting in freezers and more on the way every week, and $12 billion in unspent COVID relief funds we should be able to provide vaccinations in every LTC home in the province before the end of January.
We ask you reconsider this choice to delay life saving intervention in Hamilton. Decisions like these underscore all Ontarians' need to have their representatives working for them at Queen’s Park. We urge you to recall the Ontario Legislature and allow all Ontarians to have their representatives be engaged in decision making. Further, we are asking for a ministerial briefing that explains what criteria was used to exclude Hamilton as the only grey zone from the accelerated plan, what resources are required to ensure all residents, health care workers and essential caregivers at long-term care homes in Hamilton receive a COVID-19 vaccination by January 21, 2021, and what plan can be put in place to ensure no community is left behind.
Given the extreme urgency of these matters, we hope to hear from your offices in the coming days.
Andrea Horwath, MPP Hamilton Centre
Sandy Shaw, MPP Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas
Monique Taylor, MPP Hamilton Mountain
Paul Miller, MPP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Cc: Hon. Christine Elliot Minister of Health
Cc: Hon. Merrilee Fullerton Minister of Long Term Care
Cc: Michael Hurley President of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions