TORONTO -- Brampton’s mayor is pleading with the provincial government to expand the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to more pharmacies in his city, as the hot spot continues to battle surging case counts and hospitalizations.

Mayor Patrick Brown said he has asked the Ford government to supply more pharmacies in Brampton with vaccines to increase immunizations amid a third wave of the pandemic.

“It makes no sense that the city that has the highest positivity rate, that is a clear hot spot, wouldn’t be getting the same vaccine pharmacy resources as other municipalities that are not in a predicament as difficult as Brampton,” he said during a COVID-19 news conference Wednesday morning.

There are 61 pharmacies in Brampton that are administering COVID-19 vaccines, according to the Ministry of Health’s website.

Brown argued that Brampton has the highest positivity rate of Ontario’s largest municipalities and that more pharmacies in the city should be able to provide vaccinations to help combat the deadly virus.

“Right now, Brampton has eight pharmacies per 100,000 residents, Toronto has nine, Mississauga has 10, Kingston has 26 pharmacies per 100,000 residents that are administering the COVID-19 vaccine at a pharmacy,” he said.

Peel Region’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh said Brampton’s test positivity rate is 22.4 per cent, with a weekly incidence rate of 466.7 per 100,000 residents, the highest in Ontario by far. He also said that there are now a record 200 COVID-19 positive patients admitted at Brampton Civic Hospital.

“This is unfortunately the crisis that we feared. The patients fighting for their lives are our most vulnerable, our elderly, but also our essential workers who are increasingly younger and are often our newest Canadians and our racialized residents,” Loh said at the news conference.

Brown’s request comes after the provincial government announced yesterday that 20 Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacies will start offering vaccinations 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The select pharmacies, including six in Brampton, are set to begin administering vaccines 24/7 as early as today.

Brown, who received his vaccine at a pharmacy yesterday, applauded the move.

“I just hope that there's more of that. I really think our residents would utilize it. I think it's a great way to get a large number of individuals vaccinated.”

About 1,400 pharmacies in Ontario are currently administering the AstraZeneca vaccine, and as of Tuesday, those aged 40 and over are eligible to receive it.

As of Tuesday, more than 400,000 doses of all COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in Peel Region, according to Loh.