Regional Chair creates COVID-19 vaccine task force

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Regional Chair Jim Bradley has created a task force to manage the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the Niagara Region.

The effort is called the Community Coordination Task Force for COVID-19 Vaccination “to ensure that Niagara’s vaccine rollout is fair, equitable and ethical.”

This past week, Niagara began vaccinating long-term care residents, staff, essential visitors, and other high risk front-line health care workers.

“As Niagara begins to vaccinate our long-term care home residents and front-line health care workers, it is critical that we take steps to support Public Health’s plan for the broader rollout to the community. The creation of this task force is a major milestone in the fight against the virus. This group’s mandate will ensure high levels of coordination, build public trust and provide a conduit for information sharing among all in the community,” said Bradley in the news release.

“Niagara is off to a strong start, thanks to careful planning and execution by Niagara Health and Public Health,” a news release from the region said today.

It said 22 per cent of long-term care homes have had their residents vaccinated after only two days. Niagara is expected to deliver its 1000th dose Friday, the third day of vaccinations.

The rollout to the broader Niagara community, the bulletin said, will require coordinated work by stakeholders across our region to ensure all residents have access to, and are motivated to receive, the vaccine.

The task force will undertake the following actions:

  • Ensure a consistent and coordinated approach between all partners in the strategic delivery of vaccinations
  • Localize the provincial vaccination strategy into the Niagara specific context
  • Ensure high vaccination rates by building public trust through clear, accurate and culturally-informed communication on the vaccine and its safety
  • Provide reports and updates to the community, the Board of Health and local municipal councils on Niagara’s vaccination activities, progress and milestones

The composition of the task force will incorporate the expertise of a broad range of community stakeholders, who will be named next week.

It will include representatives from public health and the hospital system, community agencies, first responders, educational institutions, Indigenous health and social services, and Niagara’s local municipalities.

Bradley’s decision to create this task force in part responds to a recommendation of Niagara’s Public Health and Social Services Committee that was issued Jan. 12.