Jennie Stevens MPP, St. Catharines

Government of Ontario

Booster shot rollout causes havoc; Niagaran succumbs to COVID-19

Published on December 13, 2021

45 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Niagara Monday.

Going, going, gone — very quickly — after a few thousand Niagara Region Public Health appointments for COVID-19 booster shots were opened up Monday.

And also Monday, Niagara Health reported a patient who was being treated for COVID-19 had died Sunday.

The hospital system, which has 18 patients being treated for the virus, including six in intensive care.

Public health reported another 45 Niagara residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19, after 102 confirmed cases were reported during the weekend, increasing the number of residents with active infections to 461.

Meanwhile, the offices of Niagara’s MPPs were overwhelmed with calls from angry residents who were unable to schedule vaccination appointments using the province’s booking portal, after Ontarians 50 and older became eligible Monday to receive booster shots.


Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch called it “totally unacceptable that constituents are yet again being put through total frustration with nothing set up to meet the demand of onslaught of calls for boosters.”

St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens said the situation is very similar to the headaches residents experienced earlier this year when people were first becoming eligible for vaccinations.

“If we aren’t learning from the mistakes, they are no longer mistakes. They are just bad decisions,” she said.


Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates wrote a letter to Health Minister Christine Elliott, Monday, asking her to release additional booster shot dosages to pharmacies and primary care providers in Niagara to help address the issues.

After announcing Sunday that slowing demand for first doses of vaccine for children five to 11 years old would allow public health to resume offering vaccines to adults, acting medical officer of health Dr. Mustafa Hirji said on social media Monday all its available clinic appointments for adults had been quickly snapped up.

As a result of the expanded eligibility for booster shots, Hirji wrote on Twitter “a few thousand appointments goes quickly” when tens of thousands of residents are eligible to receive them.


Hirji said public health is “hoping to add a few thousand more appointments soon.”

There are 169,827 Niagara residents 50 and older. Of those, 55,455 are now eligible for booster shots, having had their last shot of vaccine at least six months ago. About 30,000 more people will become eligible every week — until Jan. 4, when everyone 18 and older becomes eligible.

So far, 8,383 children of the more than 32,500 in the five to 11 age group have received their first dose of vaccine.