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GTHA Mayors and Chairs welcome additional supply of COVID-19 vaccine

HAMILTON, ON – Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting yesterday to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The Mayors and Chairs are committed to working with their local public health units, hospitals, and community health partners to distribute COVID-19 vaccine to residents. They urge residents to obtain local information on vaccinations from the municipality in which they live, to understand there will be differences between municipalities in a big region and that all local vaccination efforts are dependent upon vaccine supply.

Late last week, the Government of Canada announced additional vaccine supply would be arriving in the coming days and weeks and the Government of Ontario confirmed it would be distributing that vaccine as quickly as possible along with providing extra doses to communities hit hard by COVID-19. The Mayors and Chairs stated that as soon as that supply of vaccine is in hand, they will deliver.

This is great news for our efforts to get shots in arms. We want our residents to have access to vaccine as quickly as possible but all of our efforts do depend on vaccine supply.

The vaccinations work. We are already seeing the benefits of vaccinations in our long-term care and retirement homes. But they must be combined with a continued cautious approach to public health guidance and common sense as this is a battle which is not yet over.

During yesterday's meeting, the Mayors and Chairs also discussed the importance of coordinating our efforts around communications across municipalities and with the province to help inform residents about the safety of the vaccines, the importance of being vaccinated when eligible, and how to get vaccinated.

The Mayors and Chairs also expressed their gratitude for the financial assistance, including transit funding, received primarily from the Ontario Government last week. Together with vaccinations, this funding will clearly put us on the road to recovery, knowing some additional assistance will be needed for 2021 since property taxes cannot on their own finance the extraordinary burdens caused by the pandemic.

“The news of additional vaccine supply arriving this week is welcomed. COVID-19 vaccines are one of the most effective prevention tools to protect the health of individuals and the health of our communities. It is important we all, including community members who have received the vaccine, continue to follow local public health guidelines and preventive health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. I strongly encourage everyone to get the vaccine when it is available to you. Vaccines are safe, they work and they will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect our most vulnerable populations.”

- Mayor Fred Eisenberger