With rising cases in Durham Region and across the province, Ajax Mayor Shaun Collier is calling for more to be done in the fight against COVID-19.
In a letter sent to the regional chair, area mayors and politicians, Collier says Ajax and the region are being left out of the vaccine rollout opportunities.
“They’re expanding service and having them in pharmacies and that in all these other areas and Durham region is being excluded,” says Collier.
“This after Ajax has had the highest number of cases all the way through and is a hotspot.”
Collier is also critical of testing capabilities, saying the fact that Ajax has a high case count should result in more pop-up sites.
“We’ve had two pop-up testing this since January,” says Collier “Two — for an afternoon, a couple hours each. That’s not enough.”
According to the region’s COVID-19 tracker, Ajax has had about 29 per cent of the known infections in the region. It’s a concerning stat for the mayor as he says people are becoming more complacent.
“I think it’s been clearly shown that we’re not where we need to be,” he said. “I’m witnessing people going back to pretty much pre-pandemic behaviour.”
Other requests from Collier include adding Ajax to the pharmacy rollout first. But John Henry, Durham’s regional chair, says the region is at the mercy of the province when it comes to that decision.
“The challenge is getting the products that we need from the province,” says Henry.
“We know it’s not the province’s fault. They get the product from the federal government who acquires it from other countries.”
But adding to that call for a smoother rollout is member of parliament for the Whitby riding, Ryan Turnbull. However, he says there are issues with how it’s being handled by the province.
“It’s not a supply issue, it’s an administration issue,” says Turnbull
“There are more than 250,000 doses currently sitting in freezers. That is a problem. We want to see a dramatic increase of the administration of these vaccines.”
The province says it is waiting for more supply and a plan to roll out to pharmacies in the region, but it’s not clear when that will happen.
In a statement the premiers office says as of Monday night the province has used 96 per cent of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Officials say they plan to rollout to more pharmacies as supply ramps up.
“We will expand Ontario’s pharmacy rollout to additional pharmacies across the province, including in Durham, as soon as we receive supply from the federal government.”