As of Tuesday morning (April 6), Hamilton residents 60 years of age and older can be vaccinated for COVID-19.
In a press release issued shortly after 9 a.m., Hamilton’s health-care partners announced that ‘effective immediately,’ Hamilton residents 60 and up are eligible to book their appointment through the province’s online booking portal.
The news comes after more than 20 local pharmacies started offering the Astra Zeneca vaccine to those 55 years of age and older over the weekend.
“We are pleased to announce that to date, we have administered approximately 111,578 doses of COVD-19 vaccine – with upwards of 17 per cent of eligible Hamiltonians receiving a vaccine to date,” the release said.
Hamilton’s pharmacy rollout, however, has been sharply criticized as none of the pharmacies included in the rollout are located in the lower part of the city where the pandemic has hit the hardest.
Six politicians representing Hamilton’s lower city issued a poignant statement to Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Monday (Apr. 5).
“We join with the residents of Lower Hamilton to express our outrage at the provincial government’s decision to exclude the lower city of Hamilton in their COVID-19 vaccine rollout via local pharmacies,” reads the statement.
“Despite the number of essential workers and vulnerable people living in these neighbourhoods, the province designated no pharmacies in inner-city communities for the community pharmacy locations rollout. This exclusion is incomprehensible and irresponsible given the risks in lower and inner-city Hamilton.”
The six representatives—Matthew Green MP, Hamilton Centre; Jason Farr, Ward 2 Councillor; Andrea Howarth MPP, Hamilton Centre; Nrinder Nann, Ward 3 Councillor; Maureen Wilson, Ward 1 Councillor; Sam Merulla, Ward 4 Councillor—called the decision “reckless.”
Tuesday’s press release indicated that more mobile clinics could be in the works, which may help to partially address the disparity.
“Mobile pop-up clinics are being explored based on supply and logistics, more information will be released if there is availability,” it said.
Vaccine appointments at one of Hamilton’s large-scale clinics, as well as local pharmacies, can be made through the city’s website.
For those who do not have access to the internet or a computer, or do not have a valid Ontario photo health card, please call the Public Health Services COVID-19 Hotline at 905-974-9848, option 7 to book an appointment.
— with a file from Anthony Urciuoli