As Toronto reaches a new milestone of 60 percent of residents fully immunized against the virus, the city is establishing a new campaign to refocus on neighbourhoods with low vaccination rates.
On Sunday, the city stated that more than 60 percent of Toronto’s residents would have gotten two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
In the spirit of the “Home Stretch Vaccine Push” campaign, which was initiated this weekend, city workers and health partners are installing various clinics to vaccinate residents in six priority areas in the city’s northwest, including Kingsview Village-The Westway, Elms-Old Rexdale, Mount Dennis, Mount Olive-Silverstone-Jamestown, Weston and Englemount-Lawrence.
As Toronto’s overall immunization rate is an estimated 78 percent for first doses and 60 percent with two doses, those numbers lower to 59 percent and 36 percent respectively in the northwest corner of Toronto.
Mayor John Tory while speaking at a pop-up clinic at Kingsview Village Junior Public School in Etobicoke on Sunday said, although Toronto’s vaccination uptake is “terrific,” there is more to be done to reach particular pockets of the city.
“I heard this morning and this afternoon from people about how they heard about this clinic… some said they got an email, other people said they saw a poster in the lobby of their apartment building, other people said they heard about it in the news. And so we’re getting to areas where there has been a lesser rate of vaccination, and we’re doing it almost one vaccine at a time.”
“We’ve got to work now at getting to some places where it’s been a bit harder to achieve the requisite numbers, and just go neighbourhood by neighbourhood, sometimes building by building, sometimes apartment by apartment to reach people and to convince them that they need to be vaccinated.”
The Mayor said the city’s procedure aims to eliminate as many obstacles to vaccination as possible.
“Some people just don’t trust the health-care system or the information they receive, whether it’s an issue of hesitancy or fear that comes from vaccinations generally or things that are medical, or whether it just comes from something as simple as making sure we give them a ride,” Tory stated.
“Those are the things we’re doing, plus all the efforts going door-to-door, putting up posters, sending emails, sending texts, making phone calls. You name it; we’re doing it to get people out.”
The city opened up four of its mass vaccination centres to walk-ins, including The Hangar, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Cloverdale Mall, and the Toronto Congress Centre earlier this week.
Tory revealed that while he is happy to see Ontario is advancing with entering Step 3 of the reopening plan on Friday, getting individuals immunized is the only way to prevent another increase of cases.
“It is the case that we still have a concern in European countries and here with respect to the variants, and only the vaccination really is the weapon that we have against these variants and against having another wave, which none of us want.”
“We don’t want to go back and have everything closed down again and so this is a big feat for the city.”