Many of you have asked why we are not seeing more pop-up and mobile clinics in Ward 13, considering three of our postal codes were designated hot spots by the Province.
I know that access at the two pop-up clinics we do have in St James Town and Regent Park has been limited and causing frustration, as we are all eager to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Today Mayor John Tory, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa and Fire Chief and General Manager of the Office of Emergency Management Matthew Pegg provided an update on the Hot Spot strategy that the City of Toronto is rolling out.
Unfortunately, with rising cases and vaccine supply as limited as it is, Toronto Public Health professionals have made the hard decision to focus the supply we have on 13 priority area postal codes and neighbourhoods. This will not include the three prior postal codes in Ward 13, specifically M4X, M5A and M5B.
We have all heard the reports that some parts of the City continue to bear a disproportionate impact by COVID-19. Our neighbours in the northwest of the City continue to have some of the highest transmission, hospitalization and death rates in the Province. Helping protect them makes the whole city safer.
To save those lives, and make the biggest impact in slowing the transmission of COVID-19, for the next two weeks, Toronto Public Health is focusing their efforts on getting vaccines to those who need them the most. While I know this is disappointing, as that was also my first reaction, I hope you can support Toronto Public Health and their Health Sector partners in this tough decision.
My understanding is that the two pop-up clinics in Ward 13 are anticipated to keep operating. If you live in a hot spot postal code but you are not personally high risk or you are able to work from home please consider your neighbours who are not so lucky. We have to come together as a community to really prioritize those within our own neighbourhoods who need the limited vaccines and appointments that we do have.
While I know people are discouraged with this temporary setback, the good news is that this limitation is only expected to last about two weeks. After two weeks, Toronto expects to start receiving larger shipments of vaccines from the Province of Ontario and we will be able to greatly expand our current vaccination opportunities in the downtown. Toronto is currently mobilized and ready to expand vaccination rollout as soon as the vaccines arrive. I assure you that not a single minute will be squandered once the vaccines are here.
Currently, people aged 40 and older in Ontario are now eligible for vaccination. Vaccinations are available at City-operated immunization clinics for residents 60 years of age and older, and residents 50 years of age or older who live in hot spots. Toronto residents 40 years of age and older can book vaccination appointments at participating pharmacies to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine. Information on how people from the various eligibility categories can register for vaccination appointments at City-run and partner clinics is available on the City’s COVID-19: How to Get Vaccinated webpage.
If you qualify, you can visit my website to find your closest pharmacy to book your appointment.
Lastly, in addition to email-based notifications, if you live in Ward 13 - Toronto Centre I would like to invite you to sign up for text message updates by texting (647) 424-5358 or visiting this link and filling out your information.
I want to be clear that while I am glad there is great interest in my eblasts and local community updates, these new text message updates will only go to people in Ward 13. Unfortunately, I don't have timely access to information about pop-ups across the City. Please contact your local City Councillor for updates in your neighbourhoods.
I will continue to make everyone aware of opportunities as they come up, but I appreciate your patience and understanding during this setback.