If the amount of vaccine coming into Ontario and Toronto matches the ambitious immunization schedule announced by the Province this week, all of us will be able to breathe much easier by early summer.
Below is a simplified version of who is eligible to be vaccinated at any of the nine city-run clinics. Note that we are using “week of” because the Province has not yet announced specific dates. On the date you become eligible, you can book at Toronto.ca/COVID19.
Because the rollout dates (as determined by the Province, not the City) are coming quickly on top of one another, I’m anticipating longer wait times between when you can book and when you are likely to find an appointment, especially during May. You may wish to try to book an appointment the first day the schedule allows you to.
As of today – anyone 55+; anyone 45+ in a hotspot postal code (M2M and M2R in Willowdale).
Week of May 3 – anyone 50+; anyone 18+ in hotspot postal codes; all education workers
Week of May 10 – anyone 40+; 18+ in hotspots; anyone in specific high-risk and group categories
Week of May 17 – anyone 30+; otherwise same as the previous week
Week of May 24 – anyone 18+
Eligibility applies to anyone turning the minimum age in 2021. For those age 18, this means those born in 2003 or before if receiving the Pfizer vaccine.
In addition, you are immediately eligible to book a vaccine if you are pregnant, a childcare worker in a licensed childcare, an elementary or secondary education worker supporting students with special needs, an elementary or secondary teacher who lives or works in one of the 53 provincial hotspot neighbourhoods.
For the next two weeks, hotspots will be getting 50% of the available vaccines.
The City is planning to quickly ramp up its capacity as vaccine delivery amounts and dates are confirmed. But that is only one part of vaccine availability.
Hospitals such as North York General will continue offering vaccinations, many of them through mobile and pop-up clinics. These are typically located in hot spots, often targeting specific workplaces or buildings. When these are available to the general public in the M2M or M2R postal codes, we will let you know as soon as that information is available to us.
You may also want to check the Twitter account for Vaccine Hunters Canada, a group of young volunteers who have done such a great job of putting out accurate information on vaccine availability that Toronto has formally partnered with them. They have information from all across the city, while we are trying to focus our efforts on clinics in Willowdale proper.
Meanwhile, pharmacies continue to offer AstraZeneca to those 40+ at hundreds of pharmacies and Pfizer at a much smaller number in Toronto and Peel. For a full list, click here.
We have had a large number of residents asking who will be contacting them with a date for their second dose, if one hasn’t already been scheduled. We’re told that this will be done by whoever provided the first dose. For those who were vaccinated early, the date is still likely to be approximately 16 weeks after the first dose. Health experts have advised that even one dose is effective in reducing your chances of getting COVID and very effective in reducing your chances of getting seriously ill from it. The plan is therefore the get one dose into as many arms as quickly as possible.
Although it has always been clear that vaccines alone won’t get us out of this crisis, the availability of large quantities of the highly-reliable Pfizer certainly makes it much more possible that we can look forward to a much brighter summer.
I don’t think it’s possible to adequately thank the doctors, nurses and front-line workers who have risked their physical and emotional well-being by caring for COVID patients these past fourteen months. I also want to personally thank the staff at the Mitchell Field vaccination clinic for their remarkably efficient and caring efforts to make getting vaccinated a stress-free experience.