February 25th, 2021

Scarborough MPP urges quick, equitable vaccine rollout

QUEEN’S PARK — Scarborough Southwest MPP Doly Begum asked Doug Ford to commit to a comprehensive and much faster vaccine rollout that allocates an equitable amount to hard-hit regions like Scarborough, ensuring that seniors and essential workers are vaccinated quickly across Ontario.

In the legislature Thursday, Begum quoted the desperate plea of constituents, like one 65-year-old retired fire captain, whose wife is a registered nurse on the frontlines while battling breast cancer and receiving chemotherapy, and who cares for his 89-year-old father. He asked the government for a comprehensive vaccine strategy for Scarborough: "'I am begging that we can be on the list of vaccines.'"

Begum said, "My constituent is terrified that his loved ones will be taken away by this deadly virus if his family cannot access the vaccine soon. Unfortunately, stories like these are not rare in Scarborough Southwest."

Home to many frontline workers, of which a large proportion is low-income and racialized, Scarborough has been referred to by some doctors as, according to a piece in the Toronto Star, "ground zero" for COVID-19. In December, nearly half of the total number of ICU patients across Scarborough's three hospital sites tested positive for COVID-19.

"Yesterday’s announcement about the vaccine rollout just confirmed our worst fears – that our province does not have a plan that prioritizes an equitable vaccination strategy for hard-hit communities like ours, that there is no plan to quickly get vaccinations to those in vulnerable situations like my constituent, or those living with co-morbidities and pre-existing conditions,” said Begum.