April 8th, 2021
The Honorable Christine Elliott
Minister of Health
College Park 5th Flr, 777 Bay St.
Toronto, ON. M7A 2J3
Dear Minister Elliott,
As the provincial representative for Ottawa-Vanier, I am writing to you with concerns for our residents and regarding the urgent need for resources to effectively fight COVID-19.
Last week, I stood in the House to ask you about including Ottawa, specifically Ottawa-Vanier, in the deployment of vaccines to pharmacies to improve accessibility. You responded by confirming that it was coming.
I welcomed the news that 34 pharmacies would offer the vaccine in Ottawa, but was dismayed to find out that Ottawa-Vanier, especially the community of Vanier, would still be underserved. Over the last five months, Vanier and Overbrook (K1K and K1L area codes) have had the third highest total of individuals with COVID-19 in Ottawa. Despite this, these residents have no accessible pharmacy to administer the vaccine and the government left these vulnerable areas out of their hot spot communities.
Ottawa-Vanier has already been disproportionately affected by the pandemic due to compounding factors. Vanier is a high-density area with an elevated rate of low-income households and food bank usage in Ottawa-Vanier is higher than anywhere else in Ontario. From shelters to multigenerational homes, many residents live in congregate settings where the virus can easily spread. The only way to slow the spread and protect this community is by making vaccines as accessible as possible.
I have emphasized to you already that many people don’t have cars or need to use special transportation to accommodate disabilities. It is also understandable that many are wary of using public transportation for long rides to distant mass vaccination centres. Having vaccination centres within a reasonable walking distance can make all the difference.
As you should already be aware, Mayor Watson cited Vanier as an example when he wrote to Dr. Homer Tien, Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force about local gaps in pharmacy locations. This is why I am urging you to you to make vaccines more accessible to the people of Ottawa-Vanier through pharmacies or targeted hot spot vaccinations.
On behalf of the residents of Ottawa-Vanier, I thank you for your attention to this matter and I look forward to hearing from you.
The Honourable Lisa McLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries and MPP for Nepean
Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa
Councillor Mathieu Fleury, Ward 12 Rideau-Vanier
Councillor Tim Tierney, Ward 11 Beacon Hill-Cyrville
Councillor Rawlson King, Ward 13 Rideau-Rockcliffe