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Toronto’s COVID-19 immunization clinic opens

Toronto Public Health has opened Ontario’s first proof-of-concept immunization clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This first clinic will help test and adjust immunization clinic setup in non-hospital settings, ensuring safety and increasing efficiency in advance of wider immunization.

Importantly, once the clinic has operated for an initial six to eight weeks, the city will produce a thoroughly-evaluated immunization clinic playbook in collaboration with provincial and hospital partners. This playbook will be provided to the province and is critical in establishing other immunization clinics across both Toronto and Ontario.

In accordance with provincial allocations of COVID-19 vaccine, the goal of this first clinic is to vaccinate 250 people per day. It is important to note that immunization schedules at the clinic will be based entirely on vaccine supply. As announced by the federal government on January 15, due to the work to expand the European manufacturing facility, production of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will be impacted for a number of weeks. As a result, Pfizer will temporarily reduce deliveries at its European facility to all countries receiving its vaccine, including Canada.

“Establishing the city’s first COVID-19 immunization clinic for frontline workers is an exciting milestone for our community and is the result of a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes in record time,” said Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto Medical Officer of Health. “As more vaccines become available, we look forward to offering more residents the opportunity to get vaccinated.

Those attending the city clinic will receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, but due to the supply issues with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the Moderna vaccine will be reallocated by the province elsewhere, as required. Scheduling at the city’s proof-of-concept clinic beyond Week 1, therefore, has been impacted due to vaccine supply.

As vaccine becomes more readily available, the clinic is scalable and will accelerate immunization accordingly.

The federal government is responsible for obtaining the supply of COVID-19 vaccines; the province has responsibility for distributing the vaccines and identifying priority groups established under the province’s framework; and Toronto is responsible for supporting the administration of the vaccine in accordance with provincial prioritization and scheduling frameworks as vaccines are provided by the province.

The proof-of-concept clinic is one part of preparing for public immunization rollout and is not open to members of the public. The clinic will operate with a sample group of healthcare workers, identified in accordance with the Province of Ontario’s Ethical Framework for COVID-19 vaccine prioritization. These healthcare workers are directly involved in the frontline response to COVID-19, including frontline shelter workers and harm-reduction and Streets to Homes staff who work in support of some of Toronto’s most vulnerable residents.

Subject to vaccine availability, the city’s immunization clinic operations will expand across the city in strategically-located areas and will include stand-up clinics, mobile clinics, and response teams to ensure priority neighbourhoods and vulnerable populations have access to immunization.

To reduce and eliminate the transmission of COVID-19, protect the healthcare system and save lives, the city continues to strongly recommend all residents stay home as much as possible to help stop the spread of COVID-19.


Photo: Shortly after Toronto Public Health opened Ontario’s first proof-of-concept immunization clinic, it announced that appointments after this Friday have been cancelled due to Pfizer temporarily reducing deliveries to Canada. City of Toronto photo.


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