The region, which is the second most populous in the province, has long been a COVID-19 hotspot largely due to the presence of many essential workplaces. Experts warn that the Delta variant, or B.1.617, is now spreading there.
Preliminary studies suggest that a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine is not as effective against this variant, which first appeared in India. Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said the province must prioritize the region for the administration of second doses.
We have overcrowded factories, and I know it’s like a bushfire. It’s gonna spread like wildfire, said Mayor Brown.
According to him, the government of Prime Minister Doug Ford was wrong in its initial vaccine rollout by not prioritizing hot spots and must learn from its mistakes.
The province was criticized for its per capita distribution model at the start of the vaccination campaign. It started prioritizing hot spots in late April, sending half of all available doses to areas with high COVID-19 rates, but that strategy was removed after two weeks.
50 to 74% more contagious than other strains
The co-chair of Canada’s federal vaccine task force argued in a tweet that the province needs to send additional doses to Peel.
Dr Lawrence Loh, the region’s medical officer of health, says Peel has the highest proportion of Delta variant in the province.
As of Wednesday, the public health unit had detected nearly 100 cases of the variant, while it only analyzes half of the positive tests for the strain.
Preliminary models from the Ontario Science Table predict that the Delta variant will replace the B1.1.7 variant as the predominant strain in Peel region within a month.
Ontario on Friday expanded the eligible population pool to receive the second dose to people over 70, as well as residents who had their first injection of Moderna or Pfizer on or before April 18.
These people can now reserve a place for their second vaccine in a pharmacy that offers RNA vaccines or from Monday in a mass immunization center.