April 19, 2021
Late yesterday, Premier Ford lowered the age requirement for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to individuals aged 40 and over at pharmacy and primary care settings across the province effective Tuesday. If you qualify, you can visit my website to find your closest pharmacy to book your appointment.
I urge everyone who can to take the first vaccine available to you. Despite reports of blood clots, Health Canada is not restricting the use of the vaccine as the potential risk of these events is very rare, and the benefits of the vaccine in protecting against COVID-19 outweigh its potential risks. In the very rare event that someone experiences unusual blood clots, there are treatments available - that is not always true for covid-19. In fact, “Blood clots are more common with just day-to-day living than they are with any of the vaccines, including AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson,” said Linda Dresser, an infectious diseases expert and assistant professor at the University of Toronto.
People aged 18-49 in hot spot communities continue to have challenges accessing appointments for vaccines. Unfortunately, the two pop-up clinics are just not able to accommodate the demand for vaccines. Unity Health has had to stop taking any new appointments at hospitals and are focusing all their efforts at the pop-ups and it’s still not enough.
While Toronto Public Health continues to plan more pop-ups, issues of supply have meant that we still do not have any information for additional clinics.
Since the vaccine supply is so limited, there is a plan for hotspot areas including a hyper-local strategy to contact nearby residents - door to door, door knockers/ flyers and they won't need appointments. This does mean that they will not be widely promoted and our office might not even be made aware of all the locations. This strategy is intended to make it easier to access for vulnerable residents, while not overwhelming the effort.
If you would like to get updates on when pop-ups are announced, please reply to this email with your full address and phone number, my office will include you on that distribution list.
I want to stress that it is still not clear how and when my office will be notified about pop-up clinics. For locations that we do know about, we will be sending very targeted emails to people in the immediate vicinity. You can always visit vaccineTO.ca to check for appointments at other clinics.
In the meantime, please stay safe.