While Trudeau has indicated that “we are extremely preoccupied with the situation in Ontario right now,” his offer of Red Cross support to administer vaccinations to help get numbers under control has been declined. Premier Ford has been clear that the support required in Ontario has to do with needing an increased supply of available vaccines.
“While we appreciate the Prime Minister’s offer unless it is matched with an increase in supply, we do not need the Red Cross at this time for the administration of vaccines in Ontario,” said Doug Ford’s office in a statement.
As Ontario struggles to manage the ongoing impact of the third wave of COVID-19 along with the devastating effects of the variant strains, the pressure on our health system cannot be underestimated.
In a letter to all provinces and territories, the Ford government notes it is short thousands of nurses. The deputy minister of health, Helen Angus, also asks whether her counterparts have any resources to spare. Her letter says the pandemic has strained hospital capacity, particularly intensive care. Angus estimates Ontario will be short 4,145 nurses in the hospital sector alone over the next four months. The letter asks for another 620 health professionals, including nurses and respiratory therapists.
The possible deployment of health care professionals from other areas in the country would be focused on adding support to the crisis in the GTA and Southern Ontario. The Federal Government has recognized that the situation in Southern Ontario continues to worsen and with the models that have been made public today, it is predicting very dire scenarios. As the numbers continue to climb in the GTA and surrounding areas, shortages of health care professionals are adding considerable pressure to an already overburdened system.
Regarding the shortfall of available vaccines, Trudeau indicates understanding of the challenges faced by the Province.
“On vaccination in particular, Ontario has reached out for more support,” said Trudeau. “… This is about getting doses to people where the situation is the most serious.”
This acknowledgement comes on the heels of the announcement by Moderna that supply would be slashed in half through the end of April, citing a “slower than anticipated ramp-up of its production capacity”. The Federal government has responded to this news with a release indicating Canada has secured 8 million doses from Pfizer.
–with files from 680 News, CTVnews.ca