When the Ontario government released the list of pharmacies in Hamilton that would be eligible to provide the AstraZeneca vaccine to Hamiltonians 55 and up. There was a major omission—none of the pharmacies were in the lower city. All 20 were either on Hamilton Mountain or in the suburbs. This prompted a joint statement by politicians representing the lower city ward protesting the omission.
The Bay Observer asked officials in Health for an explanation and today we received the following response from a spokesperson for Ontario Solicitor-General Sylvia Jones.
“Participation and performance in the 2020-2021 Universal Influenza Immunization Program, as well as capacity and readiness for vaccinations, have been part of the criteria of selection to onboard the pharmacies. The province is also ensuring that all pharmacies, chain and independent, are participating. “Site selection also included input from local public health units, the Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA) and Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada (NPAC).
“Hamiltonians have access to 20 pharmacy clinics as part of this most recent province-wide expansion, in addition to mass clinics at Hamilton Health Sciences, FirstOntario Centre, and St. Joseph’s Hamilton, as well as mobile vaccine pop-up clinics. We will continue to increase the number of pharmacies able to offer the vaccine across Ontario, subject to increased and stable supply from the federal government.”
Persons between 55 and 70 years of age will not be able to get vaccines at the lower city vaccination sites.