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More Oshawa neighbourhoods need to be deemed hot spots: MPP French

Oshawa MPP Jennifer French

Oshawa MPP Jennifer French is calling on the province to prioritize hot spot communities in Oshawa.

In a recent letter to the Ford government, French says communities, neighbours, workers and families are concerned about access to vaccines.

“With so much confusion and ever-changing information, people are struggling to navigate the system,” French writes.

She says her office continues to work to support the community, especially aging Ontarians, in registering for an appointment. However, due to vaccine supply and challenges with distribution, French says many who are eligible for appointments may not be able to get a vaccine.

French commends the Durham Region Health Department, noting their efforts to immunize people across the region.

Despite Durham Region Health Department recently declaring the L1L area of north Oshawa a hot spot, French says many communities were surprised by how many high-needs communities were not included when the province announced hot spots.

“While I am glad there is a strategy to zero in on areas and get more people immunized, I am very concerned that there are no additional resources or funding from the province to support local vaccine initiatives.

Further, based on a number of concerning factors, French says south Oshawa and other Oshawa neighbourhoods also need to be prioritized for vaccine access, education, transportation to vaccine clinics, and resources as identified by the health department and partner agencies.

“There are vulnerable neighbourhoods and local areas that warrant prioritization, and I am requesting that you work with Durham Region Health Department to support these areas as they are clearly emerging as hot spots,” French continues.

As identified by Durham Region Health, the L1L post code area has the “lowest vaccination rates in Durham Region, and very high rates of transmission.”

“Other Oshawa neighbourhoods also have very low uptake of first-dose vaccines, and increasing COVID rates,” writes French, adding positive cases in Oshawa have “increased quickly” during the third wave of the pandemic.

French says she wants the government to work with the community to ensure people and families get the protection they need to keep everyone safe and healthy.

“Communities at risk need access to vaccines.”