January 11th, 2021

Gates: Niagara needs Moderna vaccine urgently to protect long-term care residents

QUEEN’S PARK — Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates has released a statement following a meeting with Niagara Health to discuss the vaccine rollout in the region:

“After two weeks of pressure from the Official Opposition NDP, Ford is finally sending the Pfizer vaccine to Niagara. Of course, any vaccines coming to Niagara is a good start but public health officials and Niagara Health are making clear that we need the Moderna vaccine,” said Gates.

The Moderna vaccines can be sent to long-term care homes much more easily to protect residents in these facilities that can’t go to a hospital site. In Niagara, the Pfizer vaccine is being stored in hospital freezers, which will be more challenging for public health to deliver into long-term care homes, possibly causing further delays.

“We’re happy that the Ford government has finally realized Niagara is a hot spot region, but we’re in a race against time, and the Moderna vaccine is urgently needed to get these long-term care outbreaks under control before more lives are lost,” said Gates.

“The Moderna vaccine would make it easier for public health teams to deliver as they can store it themselves, rather than receive the vaccine from Niagara Health. We also need an urgent plan to tell at-risk groups in Niagara when they can receive the vaccine, people like our seniors and frontline workers. Telling them to just wait a few months for good news is not good enough. We’ve had 10 months to prepare for this, there’s no reason Ford doesn’t have a plan ready for Niagara now”.

Gates’ meeting with Niagara Health came on the heels of an announcement by the Niagara Region that requested more input and responsibility from Niagara’s public health unit which has extensive experience of undertaking local vaccination efforts.