Earlier Second Doses, More Choices, Local Pop-Ups

Anyone 70 or older and anyone who received a first dose of any vaccine on or before April 18 can schedule an appointment for a second dose of those vaccines through the provincial booking system and call centre starting Monday morning (June 7) at 8 a.m.

In addition, those whose first dose was AstraZeneca can immediately choose a second shot of either AstraZeneca or one of the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) through a participating pharmacy. If you are otherwise eligible for a second shot and received AZ (if you received your first dose on or before April 18) you are also eligible to book a second dose of Pfizer through a City run mass immunization clinic starting Monday. To do that, you would use the provincial booking system.

Those 80 and up have been able to book a second shot since earlier this week. The 70+ group is now able to do so one week ahead of when was originally scheduled.

The option for those with first does of AstraZeneca came this week after the federal health advisory body, NACI, determined that it was safe to mix vaccines. This was another change in guidance involving the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been associated with a small risk of blood clots and offers slightly less protection that the extremely effective Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Toronto's vaccine clinics are adding 10,000 doses this coming week to attempt to handle the increase, so it is possible that openings may become available even though we were initially fully booked for the next few weeks.

In addition, vaccination partners like North York General Hospital have already sent out emails to those 70 and up who received their first dose through them, inviting them to sign up for a second dose. I received my first dose through them and was able to book a second one for next week at their Seneca College location.

In addition, there are at least two pop-up clinics in Willowdale this weekend operated by our North York Health Partners:

  • Edithvale Community Centre on June 5 and 6 from 6:30 am to 10 pm. The clinic is open to any residents over 12 years of age but promotional efforts are being focused on residents with a postal code beginning with M2N. Vaccine spots can be accessed by appointment (through LINK the hospital website) or drop-in.

  • Centre Park (Centre Ave. just east of Yonge St.) on June 5 and 6 from 10 am to 2 pm. The clinic will serve the local Iranian community but is open to anyone over 12 years of age with a 'M" postal code. No appointment is required.

As of this afternoon there were about 1000 first-dose appointments available at city clinics for tomorrow through the provincial website. The always-popular Mitchell Field site was full but, if you are willing to travel and book soon, you may find something.

Thus far, we have had a tremendous response among adults – especially younger adults. Approximately 75% of our adult population has received one dose and about half of those 12 to 17 have also received a first dose. A high degree of protection is provided against most variants two weeks after the first dose, with higher protection two weeks after the second shot.

Getting a very high percentage of the population fully vaccinated is important to the Province's re-opening plan and is essential to our chances of avoiding a fourth wave. For many – especially those over 60 – it could also be life-saving.

- John