Vaccine eligibility is expanding, but Toronto’s clinics are nearly fully booked
Appointment slots at Toronto’s mass immunization clinics are nearly fully booked in the weeks ahead, and demand is set to increase Tuesday, when the province opens up vaccine eligibility to all adults 18 and up.
Torontonians may have to wait until June for their COVID-19 vaccine appointment, officials said Monday.
“Look at every option,” Mayor John Tory said, adding Torontonians can also seek appointments at participating pharmacies.
“We are working to secure more supply to meet increased demand in the coming weeks,” he added.
The province’s online booking system notes that vaccine appointments are scarce at Toronto’s mass vaccination clinics, and says mobile clinics, pop-ups, and pharmacies also have doses.
Appointments at Toronto’s nine mass immunization clinics are 97% full for this week, with only 1,700 appointments remaining as of this morning, Fire Chief Matthew Pegg said. The clinics are also 97% booked for the weeks of May 24 and May 31. They are 70% booked for the week of June 7.
Appointments are currently available until June 13. The province has not yet opened up additional appointment slots beyond that date.
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In the meantime, Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, asked Toronto residents to keep wearing masks and stay distant as variants continue to drive infection.
“We’re not the United States or the United Kingdom yet,” she said. “But we can be if we keep taking those protective measures to limit spread while we build up our vaccinated population.”
The variant first detected in India is now transmitting within Ontario, and the latest public health reporting indicated there were 36 cases linked to that variant, de Villa said. It’s estimated to be as much as 50% more transmissible than the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the UK, according to data from that country.
“COVID-19 is nimble. And stories from around the world tell us that it isn’t in full retreat. Every infection is a new opportunity for COVID-19 to mutate,” she said.
Toronto officials are in talks with the province to have more doses allocated to the city. It takes at least two weeks after vaccination to develop immunity to COVID-19, according to health experts.