HAMILTON AND BRAMPTON — Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Official Opposition NDP, is calling for the Ford government to provide clear rules and a plan for distributing leftover doses of the COVID-19 vaccines after inexcusable cases of queue-jumping have come to light.
“Vulnerable seniors are waiting for their turn to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and their families are living in agonizing anxiety,” said Horwath. “Meanwhile, there are executives and powerful people who have allegedly sneaked shots for themselves and their families in cases of inexcusable queue-jumping.
“The vaccine rollout has been slow and sloppy because Doug Ford didn’t want to invest in readiness. But there are things we can do right now to fix that. Let’s build a regulated, province-wide strategy to get leftover doses into the arms of nearby vulnerable people.”
Horwath said that strategy should include:
- Mandating who can receive leftover doses, which would be updated regularly
- A requirement that vaccine teams make a specific plan for leftover doses before each round of vaccinations
- Investigations, and consequences for people who knowingly and selfishly jump the queue
- A plan to divide boxes into smaller batches, as recommended by the Science Advisory Table after that method limited leftover doses and wastage in Israel
Deputy Leader Sara Singh has written to General Rick Hillier (retired), head of the vaccine task force, to investigate those queue-jumping incidents. Singh said the Ford government has been sending the message that queue-jumping is not a big deal.
“The vast majority of people in Ontario will do everything in their power to ensure vulnerable people get their vaccines first,” said Singh. “But the egregious examples that have come to light so far are frustrating for people that are patiently waiting their turn. There must be a plan, clear rules, investigations and consequences in the worst cases of fraudulent queue-jumping so that everyone knows: stealing a vaccine dose from a vulnerable person or frontline worker is not something to be taken lightly.”