Mississauga will double efforts to inoculate the Caribbean community

 by Debbie Ali

Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Dr. Lawrence Loh and members of the Peel Regional Health Authority

On Saturday February 12th the Peel Regional Health Authority hosted a vaccine clinic at the Rockwood Mall in Mississauga.  It was one of the many ventures employed to target and encourage members of the black, minority and Caribbean communities to obtain their first, second or booster shots. 

According to Dr. Lawrence Loh these pop up vaccine clinics were as a direct result of collaborations among community stakeholders, and expressed his understanding of the historic mistrust of the black community towards the government. He also emphasized his intention to continue upgrading their collective efforts to reach every arm of the Caribbean community and not just those of African heritage. 

Dr. Loh stressed that despite the lack of trust emanating from the black communities, his hope was that they would understand the gravity of this global pandemic and bear witness to the countless cases of hospitalizations and fatalities as a result of Covid 19 and its variants.  When further questioned about the concerns voiced by many women (not only from the Caribbean) about their feminine health, Dr. Loh, while empathetic, pointed out that based on statistics and other data collected, there was no direct link to women’s health and the vaccines issued.  He reiterated that everyone will experience different health issues that they may have been prone to, prior to contracting Covid 19 and/or after receiving their vaccines.  He continued to stress that data has shown that amongst the billions of doses dispensed globally, the percentage of cases of blood clots, heart inflammation and other abnormal reactions were in the minority. 

Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Dr. Lawrence Loh

While research and data collection is continuously being updated, Dr. Loh stated that in the face of the pandemic and other illnesses, individuals tend to be more observant of their health issues and are more likely to notice changes in their overall health resulting in placing blame on the vaccines.

Mayor Bonnie Crombie was also present at the event and was very pleased with the turn out as well as the success of the six clinics in the Peel region, the pop up clinics, of which eleven specifically targeted Caribbean and black communities.  Although she acknowledged the obvious hesitancy of the said communities to accept the vaccines, she was very proud of the collaborations among various stakeholders to inform and encourage individuals to protect themselves and those around. 

According to Mayor Crombie approximately 85% aged five and over have been double vaccinated and 91% over twelve years of age in Mississauga and the Peel region.  She continues to be highly optimistic about the re-opening of businesses and schools across the region and credits their success to the gradual approach taken in light of the spread of Covid 19 and its variants.

Both Mayor Crombie and Dr. Loh were equally determined to continue to seek out new and innovative ways of reaching all races, cultures and ethnicities that comprise the Caribbean community.