February 25th, 2021

Ford government won’t reveal the truth about what happened to Niagara’s vaccines

Gates turns up the heat, but ministers still denying what Niagara’s doctors are saying

NIAGARA FALLS — Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates continued to press the Ford government for answers Thursday on why vaccines were diverted away from Niagara, and demanded to know when the region will get its fair share of both Moderna and Pfizer shots.

Gates reminded the Ford government that Niagara has the third oldest population by average age in the entire country, which means it’s critical to get vaccines to Niagara urgently without more delays.

“Given that they Niagara is such a high-risk zone and given the over 200 outbreaks we’ve had across the region with over 350 deaths, it makes sense that Niagara would be given its fair share of both the available vaccines. Yet in early January we found out that a shipment of the lifesaving Moderna vaccines were diverted away from Niagara and sent elsewhere at the expense of healthcare workers and seniors,” said Gates during question period Thursday at Queen’s Park.

“We have continually asked the premier and minister of health where were these vaccines went and they refuse to tell us. Where were our vaccines sent, why were they diverted and when will you immediately send Niagara its fair share of both vaccines?,” he asked.

Gates told the Ford government that given the previous rates of COVID-19 in Niagara, and the number of seniors that live there, it doesn’t make sense that lifesaving dosages of vaccines would be taken away from the region.

“From Christmas to the end of January, we saw hundreds of seniors die in Niagara, at one point Niagara was witnessed a death every three and a half hours,” said Gates.

“So I will ask again and continue to ask until we receive a response, does the Minister disagree with our health care workers and when will this government be open with the people of Niagara to let them know where the much-needed vaccines were diverted to?”

The Government’s house leader, Paul Calandra, responded on behalf of the Ford Government and insisted that there was never a discrepancy and that Niagara had received its fair share of vaccines.

Calandra’s comments stand in contrast to a letter sent on Jan. 13 to the premier by Niagara’s doctors on the region’s Medical Advisory Committee indicating that Niagara had not received its fair share of vaccines after dosages of the Moderna vaccine were diverted from the region. They went on to say, ‘Our teams are burned out; people are worried for their loved ones and they need hope. Hope that the vaccine offers’.