As we approach the one year mark since our City shutdown and our lives changed completely, the Ontario Government and City of Toronto have finally released some details on their vaccination plans.
Presently, the federal government is responsible for securing the vaccines, while the provincial government is responsible for distributing and lastly, the city is responsible for administering. You may review this Provincial news release, to get a better understanding of which age cohort is under which phase.
Just this week, the City released its COVID-19 Vaccine website. While Toronto Public Health is currently not booking any vaccination appointments for the general public, information of this sort will be posted on this website. Last week, the Province announced that the Province’s online vaccine booking system and call centre will go live on March 15th and residents who are over the age of 80 can make an appointment at that time. The Province will begin administering the vaccine to this age group during the third week of March.
With that being said, I support the calls from top Geriatricians requesting that the Province accelerate the vaccination process and have all older adults ages 70+ to be vaccinated by end of April.
According to this news article, the City expects more than 350 community immunization sites, including 49 hospital-run vaccination clinics, 46 operated by community health centres and 249 operated by pharmacies. This is in addition to the 9 city-run vaccination sites that will run seven days per week, nine hours a day and administering an expected 120,000 doses a week.
Mobile clinics have already been established and are currently visiting seniors-designated Toronto Community Housing buildings.
Many residents have emailed me with questions on why other regions of Ontario have already begun administering the vaccine to their seniors, while Toronto has not. According to this article, other areas in the GTHA are able to vaccinate people aged 80 and over, as the vaccines are being distributed on a per capita basis, even though the Provincial framework sets priority based on vulnerability. Toronto has a high number of vulnerable people who still qualify in Phase 1 of the framework compared to places like Guelph.
Despite this messaging from the City, folks at Michael Garron Hospital, North York General Hospital and Sunnybrook Hospital have already launched their online pre-registration portal for those seniors 80 and up and Indigenous adults. Click here for further details.
As many of you know, a third vaccine, Oxford-AstraZeneca, received approval from Health Canada just last week. According to this news article, pharmacies in Toronto will begin administering this vaccine next week. In addition, Canada announced it’s approval of a fourth vaccine, Johnson & Johnson, just this morning.
Like you, my office is closely monitoring the roll out of vaccines and access to them. That being said, we’d encourage you to stay informed through using credible sources such as the following: