Today, Ontario has suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in people under the age of 55, following recommendations issued by the NACI. This decision has been made following reports from Europe of rare instances of blood clots after receiving AstraZeneca shots. The research from Europe has found these blood clots occurring in between 1 and 125,000 people and 1 in 1,000,000 people.
300,000 of these vaccines have been administered so far here in Canada, and we’ve had no reports of blood clots. We have also not seen this issue replicated in mRNA vaccines that are being distributed globally.
As this story continues to develop, I will be following it very closely.
This news also comes as Ontario reported another 2094 new cases of COVID-19 today, which brought the seven-day average of COVID cases to the same number, 2094. Perhaps most concerning with the new cases we’re seeing in this third wave is the high prevalence of COVID-19 variants, with 61% of new cases across Ontario being variants, and in some regions, (including here in Toronto), over 70%.
I would encourage everyone in our community to continue to maintain their vigilance against COVID-19. While the weather continues to improve, and the temptation to not wear a mask grows, I must implore our entire community to wear your mask in public, maintain your physical distancing, and wash your hands frequently.
These are simple steps that will save lives.
And while I know that it can be hard to see when we’re continuing to follow these many protocols, we are making progress in the fight against COVID-19, and we will get through this lockdown.
In fact, just today the City of Toronto opened up two new mass vaccination sites in Toronto.
Those sites, located at the Malvern Recreation Centre and the Mitchell Field Arena, (in North York), are now both open for residents who are 70 or older in 2021.
To book your vaccine, click here.
NOTE: Vaccines are available for anyone who will be 60 or older in 2021, and you can book your appointment at the link above.
This afternoon, I was delighted to be able to chat with the incomparable Zanana Akande. For those who don’t know, Zanana was the first Black woman elected to the Ontario Legislature, and the first Black woman to serve as a cabinet minister in Canada. We had a great conversation about her experiences as a trailblazing politician, and her advice for the next generation.
I want to thank Zanana for taking the time to chat, and of course to everyone who tuned in to our conversation!
If you missed it, and you’d like to watch our conversation, click here.
At the Legislature, the Conservatives were back at it today.
First, they voted against a motion from NDP MPP Chris Glover that called on the Government of Ontario to commit to addressing the homelessness crisis by acquiring emergency shelter spaces. Next, they voted down a motion from NDP Leader Andrea Horwath to issue a formal apology to long-term care residents, workers and their families for breaking its promise to protect them – and to further declare March 30 of each year as a day of mourning to the victims.
I’m proud to have spoken in favour of Andrea’s motion, and I’ll have that clip uploaded in the coming days!
Last – but certainly not least – I would like to share with you a clip of my entering a petition into the House last week calling for affordable internet access for ODSP and OW recipients. By virtue of receiving this email, you know just how important internet access is – and you also know that it can be pretty expensive.
For many ODSP and OW recipients, it is simply too expensive to afford, and I’m proud to stand with the amazing team from the Brain Injury Society of Toronto in support of their petition.
To sign the petition, click here.
To watch the clip, click here.