With the COVID wave three making it necessary to implement changes in restrictions on an almost daily basis, Hamilton Public Health and the Emergency Manager were in the spotlight today at the General Issues Committee meeting. In a verbal update on Hamilton’s COVID response that lasted two and a half hours. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Elizabeth Richardson addressed what has become an issue of social media—whether vaccine is going to waste because people are not showing up for their shots.
Dr Richardson also cleared up the issue of the lower city being left out of the list of pharmacies that would be distributing the AstraZeneca vaccine to the 50-plus population. When the Bay Observer contacted provincial Health Authorities to ask why, we were told that the list was drawn up in conjunction with local Health Units. Dr. Richardson told councillors that her department had indeed recommended two lower city pharmacies. She did indicate that the list of pharmacies is soon to be expanded and that the lower city, which contains many of the higher risk population groups, will get more outlets. Clrs. Nann, Wilson and Farr had signed a joint communique calling for reconsideration of the lower city exclusion.
On the issue of essential worker vaccinations, Clr. Tom Jackson wanted to know when HSR drivers will get vaccinated. Emergency Services Director Paul Johnson said there will not be a mobile clinic at the HSR headquarters but that HSR drivers will be given time off to get to clinics for vaccine.
Mayor Fred Eisenberger took Dr. Richardson through a line of friendly questioning intended to show the number and expertise of the various subject experts who participate in the Hamilton Health decision table. The mayor said he wanted to counter some of the disinformation that is floating around of social media.
Many councillors had questions that reflected concerns from their constituents about when vaccinations would be available for various vulnerable populations.