WINDSOR, ONT. -- Nearly 75 per cent of individuals over 18 have one shot and more than 25 per cent of people in Windsor-Essex have been double-dosed with a COVID-19 vaccine.

But despite the high uptake, some pockets of the city are falling well below those volumes for the first dose.

Fewer than 50 per cent of residents in Downtown Windsor and the Fontainebleau neighbourhood have received their first shot, while the suburbs of LaSalle and Tecumseh are nearly 15 per cent more vaccinated with a single dose.

“We have to find a way to get to these people,” says Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, who recently penned a letter to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, calling for more targeted approaches to increasing coverage.

“I’m encouraging the health unit, who is responsible for the vaccination efforts, to figure out strategies to reach the downtown population and the Fontainebleau population so we can help bring up the number of full dose vaccinations,” he says.

Dilkens says pop-up clinics, mobile clinics, door-to-door vaccinations and connecting with community and church leaders could be effective strategies.

With the closed downtown vaccination centre, Dilkens is also willing to share surplus city staff to help bridge the disparity.

“We want to be a partner in this, we’ll figure it out together,” the mayor says. “There has to be a pathway to help accelerate the vaccinations.“

The health unit was unavailable to comment Tuesday.

But Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky says the health unit needs more resources from the province to reach these vulnerable communities.

“Their resources are really stretched thin right now, so the province has to step up and help them with some targeted outreach to make sure we do have mobile units,” says Gretzky.

The New Democrat points out the barriers affecting uptake in these postal codes include transportation, language, accessibility, and access to information.

“All of those barriers are still in place and they should have been dealt with many, many months ago to make sure we’re reaching the entire population within our community,” Gretzky says.

In his letter, Dilkens urged the health unit to undertake, “a renewed and dedicated plan to close the gap between downtown Windsor and other parts of the region. Redoubling our efforts to reach marginalized populations will only help ensure the entire community is protected from future COVID-19 risks.”

“We can’t leave them behind. This is a global pandemic.”