March 22 2021
HAMILTON, ON – Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.
The Mayors and Chairs continue to work with the provincial and federal governments to administer the COVID-19 vaccines to residents across the GTHA. While we await larger supply of vaccines, municipalities are moving forward in efforts to vaccinate priority groups laid out by the provincial government.
There was considerable discussion concerning the rollout of vaccinations in pharmacies. Mayors and Chairs in areas not yet part of the pharmacy vaccination program strongly urged the provincial government to expedite the equitable expansion of this initiative especially in light of increased security of vaccine supply. Local health authorities have strong existing relationships with pharmacies from programs like flu vaccinations.
The GTHA Mayors and Chairs welcome the news announced last week that allows for seniors age 75 and older to sign up for their vaccine appointment. Recent news from the federal government shows lower case counts among 80 and over residents across the country which demonstrates how vital the vaccine is in lowering case counts and spread among vulnerable residents.
On the matter of re-opening, the request to consider modifications to the Grey category restrictions on outdoor fitness and recreation was reiterated.
By increasing vaccination efforts in the GTHA and the commitment to stay vigilant in following public health guidelines, we will ensure a safer reopening for the region. The Mayors and Chairs are strongly encouraging residents to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible and as vaccine supply allows.
There was also a request made for more consistent messaging and more timely communication by the province to local governments including advance notice to Mayors and Chairs of changes in policy or new initiatives.
“Vaccines are safe, they work, and they will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect our most vulnerable populations. Within the constraints of vaccine supply, our local teams continue to make great progress in vaccinating residents per the provincial rollout plan. I strongly encourage everyone in our community to get vaccinated when the vaccine becomes available to you. It is vital that everyone, even those who have been vaccinated, ensure public health measures are still followed. By continuing to work together, we will keep our communities safe, plan for a safe reopening and overcome this terrible virus.”
- Mayor Fred Eisenberger