Community groups representing visible minorities and City of Montreal officials insist data on race and economic information of individuals receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is needed to help public health officials better allocate resources.
“Without the data, without knowing what’s concretely going on, it’s very hard to react,” Kathryn Nicassio, a researcher with Center for Research-Action on Race Relations(CRARR), told Global News.
Race and social and economic data is considered key to help protect the most vulnerable population, often visible minorities living in impoverished neighbourhoods.
“Citizens and community groups are asking us to ask the government of Quebec to make this obligatory,” Montreal city councillor Marvin Rotrand told Global News.
Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has established recommendations for the allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine. The committee’s members request efforts be made to “engage systemically marginalized populations and racialized populations in immunization program planning,” according to one of its documents.
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But Quebec’s public health director said mandating the information isn’t necessary.
“I would say we will do the maximum to vaccinate everybody who wants to get vaccinated, and use different strategies to be in contact with those population,” Dr. Horacio Arruda, said during a Tuesday afternoon press conference.
The Montreal North regional health board has four vaccination clinics on its territory but the locations are spaced out with a lot of high density housing in between.
In an email to Global News, a spokesperson writes that officials who are multi-lingual are meeting with residents in front of metro stations, at food banks, schools and other areas to provide the population with COVID-19 vaccination information.