Ontario may ramp up vaccine supply to hot spot neighbourhoods amid concerns over Delta variant
Published Monday, June 7, 2021 11:22AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 7, 2021 5:36PM EDT
Ontario is “actively considering” increasing vaccine allocations to hot spot regions like Peel as it accelerates the administration of second doses, Health Minister Christine Elliott tells CP24.
The Ford government allocated 50 per cent of all vaccine doses to hot spot postal codes for a two-week period in May, following repeated calls from members of its Science Advisory Table to prioritize regions with higher case counts.
The province, however, has since returned to a per capita allocation formula which has put all 34 of Ontario’s public health units on equal footing when it comes to how many vaccine doses they receive, regardless of the epidemiological picture locally.
On Monday, CP24 asked Elliott whether the Ford government would consider returning to a strategy which would prioritize some hot spot regions and she said that it is in fact something that is being considered.
Her comments come as the mayors and chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area call on the Ford government “to give consideration to the allocation of extra vaccine supply to hot spot areas” in order to “better equip the province as whole to contain the Delta variant in areas of greatest risk.”
“The reason that my colleagues believe strongly this is something the province should not just be looking at but acting upon is because it worked the first time to help us get to this place where we can have this first stage of reopening and it will work again in the context of this Delta variant,” Mayor John Tory said during a briefing on Monday afternoon. “I think it is just a sensible thing to do for the entire province, to take the places that are most at risk of the Delta variant and to allocate vaccine accordingly knowing that there is a need for vaccine everywhere but there is a particularly acute need in these hot spots.”
There have been increasing calls to ramp up vaccine supply to hot spot communities as the Delta variant, which was first detected in India, has slowly taken hold.
Some research has suggested that just one dose of COVID-19 vaccine may only be 33 per cent effective against the new variant and that has put pressure on officials to accelerate the administration of second doses, particularly in regions where the strain is more prevalent.
“Our plan right now is to continue allocating the doses based on age, risk and population, which is what we're doing equally across the 34 Public Health Unit regions but we are also working with the local medical officers of health and with our medical experts to determine whether we need to have extra vaccines allocated to hotspot areas,” Elliott told CP24 on Monday. “That is something that is being actively considered.”
Ontario’s science table estimates that 27 per cent of all new COVID-19 cases involve the Delta variant and in Peel officials have said that they expect the more infectious strain to become dominant within one month.