Thousands of Windsorites have joined a waiting list set up by Mayor Drew Dilkens in the event Canadians get the green light from Ottawa to access COVID-19 vaccines from the U.S. supply.
Dilkens launched the website on Friday, and the mayor's chief of staff Andrew Teliszewsky said in an email Monday that more than 4,600 residents have since signed up.
According to Teliszewsky, the website was quickly set up by communications staff with "no incremental costs to the City of Windsor."
Dilkens' list is for those who are interested in receiving a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech shot from a supply of vaccines that would otherwise be going unused in the U.S. — potentially allowing them to get their final dose sooner than they would be eligible in Canada.
"For the past few weeks we've been trying to get these surplus vaccines from Michigan into Windsor-Essex to be able to get into arms, so they're not going into landfill," Dilkens said Friday.
According to the mayor, medical leaders in Michigan are offering the excess vaccines to the city.
Dilkens has pitched a number of possible solutions to the federal government, including busing residents across the border to get vaccinated as well as a drive-thru clinic, in order to take advantage of the supply.
Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj is also pushing for access to vaccines that would otherwise go unused in Michigan.
Earlier this month, Health Canada officials told him in a letter that Canadians travelling stateside to get the vaccine may be exempt from the 14-day quarantine requirements when returning to the country, but within days the agency reversed its decision.
Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health for Windsor-Essex, said it would be helpful if the region could access some of the supply across the border instead.
"The sooner we can get it, the better it is," he said at the health unit's daily briefing on Monday.