One such gap, flagged by the mayor’s office, is in the Vanier area: one of the communities that Ottawa Public Health has identified as facing high COVID-19 risk.
“Memo to the Ford government: There’s a heck of a lot more pharmacists who could handle this in Ottawa Centre than one.”
Lucille Collard, Liberal MPP for Ottawa-Vanier, said her initial reaction to the announcement of Ottawa pharmacy locations was “OK, well, finally.”
But she became concerned when looking at the addresses, and not just because Vanier seemed to have been passed over. Her calculations found 20 of the 34 Ottawa pharmacies were located in four Progressive Conservative ridings, while 13 were in four Liberal ridings. (The 34th is in Ottawa Centre, Harden’s riding).
“The appearance … doesn’t look good,” Collard said, adding it was concerning, “because some of the communities … are very vulnerable.”
Alexandra Hilkene, spokesperson for Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott, said participation and performance in this year’s flu shot program, “as well as capacity and readiness for vaccinations, have been part of the criteria of selection to onboard the pharmacies.”
The province is also making sure that both chain and independent pharmacies are participating, Hilkene said, and regions with high COVID-19 rates have been prioritized. Input from local public health units, the Ontario Pharmacists Association and Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada was also part of site selection, and pharmacy enrolment continues, she said.
The province has said previously that approximately 1,500 pharmacies across Ontario could be offering vaccinations by the end of April, up from the nearly 700 currently identified.
This content was originally published here.