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Toronto is struggling to fill vaccine appointments for seniors. Why Ontario’s rollout is missing people in COVID-19 hot spots

Posted: April 8, 2021

(April 03, 2021)

By: Olivia Bowden, The Hamilton Spectator

This is a snippet of the full paywalled article. A link to the full article can be found below.

Premier Doug Ford conceded recently he was “kind of shocked” to see vaccine appointments not being filled by older adults in the province.

But for physicians and those who work for community associations serving the populations hardest hit by COVID-19, the province’s inequitable vaccine rollout is what’s causing those issues.

They say factors connected to the health-care system neglecting priority populations, especially lower-income and people of colour, are resulting in appointments left vacant for those over 70.

And those factors have never been “shocking.” They’re a reflection of how harder-hit neighbourhoods have always been treated by the health system, they said.

The inequitable launch of the vaccines, coupled with lack of support for priority neighbourhood where seniors need the most help, is likely what is resulting in Toronto trailing behind the province in vaccinating older adults, said Dr. Amit Arya, a palliative care doctor and Ontario Health Coalition board member.

“It favours people who can go in these lineups, favours people with access to internet, who can speak English, who are well enough to go and get the vaccine, and receive the vaccine without question,” he said. “That itself is a problem.”

Arya said many of his patients have questions, but find there is no one who can answer them.

“I hesitate to use the term vaccine hesitancy. I’m worried that people who have barriers to access will be called ‘vaccine hesitant,’ which is wrong.”

This week Toronto said it is struggling to fill appointments to vaccinate older adults as COVID-19 variants are ripping through the population, causing intensive care units to reach unprecedented levels.

 

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