Dear Dr. Williams,
We are writing to you today to urge the Provincial Government to accelerate access to vaccines for all essential workers, in Ottawa. Specifically, we are seeking clarity about when people who cannot work from home will be able to book appointments through the provincial booking system as a priority.
For months, we have been inundated with messages from essential workers, and their loved ones, worried about their health as they continue to show up to work to keep our City and essential services running.
The current approach has rightly prioritized people at higher risk for hospitalization and death but as vaccine access is shifting to lower age groups, people who cannot work from home must be prioritized. Ultimately, we will all have the opportunity to be vaccinated, but essential workers may be left behind with an approach that gives access to the general population. The outbreaks we are seeing are exposing these gaps.
The 2021 COVID Science Advisory Table recently outlined the importance of accelerating vaccine access for essential workers and those living in hot spots. In Ottawa, this principle of protecting people with the highest rates of COVID-19 and the least advantage is being implemented on a neighbourhood-based approach, which overlaps with the provincial hot spot strategy.
We fully support our local health leadership and local data in guiding prioritization of high- risk communities and workers, as vaccine supply is made available.
Those providing essential services in our grocery stores, operating transit, teaching and taking care of our children, property maintenance and management, cooking and delivering our takeout, and more, are providing critical services to us all during these challenging times.
We will continue to support and encourage COVID vaccine confidence, and will continue to advocate for the safety of essential workers, and those who cannot work from home, in Ottawa.
On behalf of the residents we represent, we thank you for your attention to this important issue and look forward to seeing a positive outcome for our communities in Ottawa. We are all eager to return to a sense of normalcy. The prioritization of vaccination for essential workers will bring us closer.
Mathieu Fleury (Ward 12)
Carole-Anne Meehan (Ward 22)
Rawlson King (Ward 13)
Catherine McKenney (Ward 14)
Riley Brockington (Ward 15)
Diane Deans (Ward 10)
Shawn Menard (Ward 17)
Jeff Leiper (Ward 15)
Theresa Kavanagh (Ward 7)
Hon. Christine Elliot, Minister of Health
Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table
Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health, Ottawa Public Health
Keith Egli, Chair, Ottawa Public Health Board
Jim Watson, Mayor, City of Ottawa