Throughout the week, we’ve been bringing you information on how to get vaccinated as soon as we’ve received it. What follows is a recap of what we’ve already sent out this week, with some updates. We’ll continue to provide new information as it becomes available.
It looks like Toronto is now being allocated enough doses from the Province to vaccinate everyone 80 and over. This is defined as anyone born in 1941 or before, so that it includes those who won’t turn 80 until later in the year. Toronto has been given early access to the provincial registration website, with shots given at city clinics starting Wednesday, March 17.
This website will launch for the rest of the province on Monday, March 15. In addition, doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are being administered in 327 pharmacies in Toronto, Windsor, and Kingston for those aged 60 to 64. This includes anyone born in 1956 through 1961. This age group was not scheduled to be vaccinated yet but plans changed when AstraZeneca doses arrived with an April 2 expiry date at the same time as Ontario decided not to administer it to anyone 65 and over.
There are not nearly enough AstraZeneca doses currently available to vaccinate everyone in this age group. Earlier today, the Province clarified its intention that pharmacies in Toronto deliver AstraZeneca to Toronto residents only, but it is not clear if there is a mechanism in place to ensure this.
Finally, many residents have contacted me wanting to know how home bound residents over 80, in addition to other vulnerable residents who can’t leave home, are to receive their shots. This is something that should have been sorted out before now but unfortunately, when I asked about it earlier this week, I was told it was still being worked on.
Pharmacy Vaccine Pilot – Ages 60-64
A large number of Shoppers, Rexall, Costco and a few independent pharmacies in Toronto are booking appointments for AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines – but only for those born between 1956 and 1961.
To book an appointment through a pharmacy, visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations and input your postal code on the left-hand side of the page. This will give you a list of pharmacies nearest you that are taking appointments, their contact information, and how to book a vaccine. To book with a pharmacy, you will need to be within the correct age group and have a valid Ontario health (OHIP) card or other form of valid government-issued identification.
Note that there have been reports that many of these appointment have now been fully booked since we made this announcement on Wednesday.
Vaccines through Family Doctors Pilot – Ages 60-64
Almost 30,000 AstraZeneca doses have also been allocated for family doctors. If your physician has these, and if you are in the right age group, you will need to wait for your doctor to contact you.
General Mass Immunization Clinics – Ages 80+
As of today, residents of Toronto aged 80 and older (defined as anyone born in 1941 or before) can book an appointment via Toronto.ca/covid19. The system has been up and down all day due to demand. If you have trouble getting in, please keep trying. It is important that anyone not meeting the age requirement not try to register now, as that will only slow things down for everyone.
Through this website, eligible residents have early access to the Province’s platform to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments by available date, time and location. You will also book your appointment for the second dose through the same process.
After the process is completed, a confirmation of the booked appointments will be sent automatically to you via the contact information you provide through the website.
To book an appointment through this system, you will require:
The information found on your PHYSICAL photo health card
Email and/or phone number
When the Province’s site launches fully on Monday, March 15, it will include an option to book by phone. We will keep our fingers crossed that it will be able to handle the demand from across the province.
The three city-operated clinics opening March 17 are located at Metro Convention Centre (255 Front St. W), Scarborough Town Centre (300 Borough Dr.) and Toronto Congress Centre (650 Dixon Rd.).
Several residents have asked me why there isn’t anything closer, a question I’d been asking city staff. I’m pleased that today it was announced that Mitchell Field Community Centre (89 Church Ave. just east of Yonge) will open March 29. I’ve also been asked by residents how Mitchell Field will handle the traffic, especially from older residents less likely to walk. We’re working on that problem.
Another site in Malvern also opens March 29, followed by four more in April as vaccine becomes available. Hours of operation at all city clinics will initially be 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. but will increase to 24/7 as enough vaccine is available.
Hospital Partners Immunization Clinics – Ages 80+
If you already have a confirmed appointment in a Hospital-operated or Healthcare-operated clinic, you do not need to rebook – your appointment remains confirmed.
Those who qualify can still book appointments though these providers via an alternate registration process at: https://vaccineto.ca Sites available through this platform include North York General or Sunnybrook Hospitals, and may be preferable for residents attending these facilities for other types of care.
Eventually, my understanding is that this platform will be incorporated into the full Provincial system. In the meantime, you can register on both, but please do not book multiple appointments.
If you’re wondering what to expect at the vaccination site, the City has produced this helpful video tour, so you know what you’re getting into. Right now, the process from start to finish only takes about a half-hour, but it’s best to plan to be there a little longer just in case.