As Ontario assembles its team under the direction to General Rick Hiller to distribute COVID vaccine to Ontario residents, Hamilton and other Ontario municipalities are reading their own distribution plans. Ontario is still months away from offering the COVID-19 vaccine to the general public, but Hamilton is beginning to plan for the eventual roll-out.
Mayor Fred Eisenberger said he and the other mayors in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area (GTHA) are asking the federal and provincial governments to ensure municipalities will have fund necessary to deploy the additional staff and other resources to distribute the vaccine.
He said the city isn’t capable of simply reallocating its existing resources toward vaccination efforts because the pandemic-related areas they’re currently focused on — including contact tracing and infection prevention and control — will still need to be staffed and funded while vaccination is
“We think it needs to be a very active and well-coordinated partnership between the federal, provincial,
“And we’re just saying to both of those levels of governments, our staffing components are stretched doing the work they’re doing now. And it’s going to require some significant additional staffing resources to be able to pull this together to ensure that it goes successfully and smoothly.”
Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Hamilton’s medical officer of health, said it’s too early to determine exactly how the vaccine will be distributed, given that the higher levels of government are still working through those issues, but she said they have started having conversations involving those who would be involved in its eventual distribution.
“We’ve got a group from across the hospitals, primary care, paramedics, public health, who are working together, as well as a group that is getting together at the city level to look at how we roll that out,” said Richardson on Monday. “But the setting of priorities comes from our provincial colleagues.”