Toronto officials plead with residents 75-plus to help fill 30,000 open appointments at city vaccine clinics
|Toronto Star 26 Mar 2021 at 12:50|
As concern over COVID-19 variants mounts Toronto officials are pleading with residents aged 75 and over to book vaccination appointments, saying almost 30,000 spots are open next week at city-run clinics.
Mayor John Tory said in broadcast interviews Friday morning that, in response to the empty spots, Toronto officials are talking to their provincial counterparts about the possibility of lowering the vaccine eligibility age in Toronto to 70 and older.
“We are working with the province to see that age range lowered down to 70 which I expect we’ll hear about quite shortly,” Tory told CP24.
He also pleaded with younger Torontonians to urge anyone they know who is unvaccinated and 75-plus to get vaccinated and, if necessary, help them go through steps online or by phone to get a required appoinment at a city-run clinic or the many others being run by hospitals and health agencies.
“The best thing people can do — and it’s up to them to go to the website or go to the call centre or get somebody to help them, do either one —75-plus people, please get an appoinment and get vaccinated,” Tory said.
City officials made similar pleas after the mass vaccination clinics were originally open to residents aged 80-plus. When the Ontario government lowered the age to 75-plus, appointments initially filled up. But with more city run clinics set to open, appointments are again sitting unfilled.
A city news release issued early Friday said appointments are available at: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front Street West; Toronto Congress Centre, 650 Dixon Road; Scarborough Town Centre, 300 Borough Drive; Malvern Community Recreation Centre, 30 Sewells Road; and Mitchell Field Arena, 89 Church Avenue.
An online map of the locations is available is here .
Eligible seniors can book appointments at the city clinics via or by phone at 1-888-999-6488 (TTY 1-866-797-0007).
Appointments at clinics run by hospitals or health agencies can be booked via https://vaccineto.ca/ or by calling 1-888-385-1910.
“Residents who receive their first dose of vaccine in the coming week will have their second dose by early summer and be able to enjoy beautiful summer days knowing they have protection against COVID-19,” the news release states.
“The City is also urging Torontonians to help and encourage their eligible friends, family and neighbours to book an appointment.”
Experts are increasingly worried that highly transmissible COVID-19 variants are spreading quickly, faster than vaccination efforts which could trigger an escalation in already growing infections and threaten to crash the health care system.
The province’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table estimates that as much as 55 per cent of all cases in the province are variants of concern (VOCs).
“Every infection we see out there needs to be handled as if it’s a variant of concern,” said Dr. Peter Juni, an epidemiologist and scientific director of the science advisory table, .
Juni noted that he believes the province will have to enact restrictions, at least in the Golden Horseshoe area, to keep the spread of variants under control.
City efforts to encourage people to get vaccinated include programs to combat vaccine hesitancy, a program that will soon have “ambassadors” going door to door in the hardest-hit communities, and a program to provide free transportation to and from clinics to people with no other options.
The transportation program is “not fully up and running yet but does have rides available next week,” the news release states.
People can contact Toronto Ride online at https://www.torontoride.ca/ or by phone at 416-481-5250; iRide at or by phone at 1-844-474-3301; or Scarborough Ride at https://www.schcontario.ca/scarboroughride.html or by phone at 416-736-9372.