March 17, 2021 Admin

Press Release

Dear Dr. Mercer,

The DCCBA Executive Team with the support of Shelburne Deputy Mayor, Steve Anderson is

writing to you on behalf of the Black and racialized community as it pertains to the vaccine rollout.

As your report indicates, these communities are disproportionately affected by Covid-19 not

only in the Wellington – Dufferin Guelph community but across Canada.

On Thursday, February 11th in your presentation to Dufferin County Council, you indicated that Black and other racialized groups in Dufferin County are 5 times more likely to contract Covid- 19 and suffer the horrific impacts compared to their White counterparts!

Toronto Public Health found that 79 per cent of people who contracted Covid-19 in the city

between mid-May and the end of November 2020 identified as racialized - the majority Black or South Asian. Among those who spent time in the hospital for Covid-19, 71 per cent were

racialized. It is no secret that many advocates including DCCBA have identified them as priority groups when it comes to rolling out the vaccine to the wider population including your own reporting to Dufferin County Council.

Some facts:

? Pre-existing racial disparities puts Black and racialized communities at a much higher

risk of contracting COVID19, hospitalization and death. This includes obesity,

hypertension, and lung ailments.

? Black and racialized individuals are more likely to fill essential roles that require them to

keep going to work during the pandemic.

? Many individuals in the Black and racialized community do not have access to a family

physician who can advocate for them to be prioritized.

Knowing these facts, a Black individual aged 35 with hypertension poses a higher risk of being severely impacted by covid19 but is not included in the list of those who are considered high risk during phase II. This is the perfect example of structural inequities that exist where we know the facts, we have the data, but we fail our community by not addressing the problem. This failure is not a Black community crisis. It is a public health crisis and an economic crisis. Failure to address the problem further burdens our health care system and hampers our economy.

Dr Upton Allen, lead investigator of the study, Division Head of Infectious Diseases, and Senior Associate Scientist in the Child Health Evaluative Sciences Program at SickKids states that: “We are beginning to see evidence that structural inequities may be contributing to an increased risk of COVID-19 infection within the Black Canadian population. This is an indication that we must take great care to protect and promote the health of these communities specifically.”

Based on the overwhelming evidence, our ask is simple. We are urging that your Public Health Unit in collaboration with the Province take immediate steps to prioritize Black and other racialized groups in the Phase 2 vaccine roll-out. As you know, with each passing moment the lives of our community’s most vulnerable is at risk. At a time like this, we must show compassion while taking decisive action!

We look forward to your response and welcome the opportunity to speak with your further on

this issue.


Alethia O’Hara Stephenson, President, Dufferin County Canadian Black Association

Steve Anderson, Deputy Mayor Town of Shelburne, Regional Councillor Dufferin County.

cc. Premier Doug Ford

MP Minister Jones

Dr. Upton Allen, Division Head, Infectious Diseases

Dr. Teresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer, Canada

Hills of Headwaters Collaborative Community Wellness Council

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