How to get a COVID-19 vaccine in the Greater Toronto Area — if you qualify

If you weren’t born in 1941 or before you probably shouldn’t be trying to book a spot for a COVID vaccine right now, but here’s a guide for those who qualify or are helping a loved one.

First, a disclaimer: This is perhaps the most complex period of the vaccine rollout, with health officials scrambling to get limited quantities of vaccine into the arms of those deemed at highest risk of getting seriously ill.

This article is the best picture CBC Toronto can provide of vaccine distribution in the Greater Toronto Area as of Friday, with the caveat that the current landscape will almost certainly look different by this time next week (it’s unclear, for example, how the newly-approved AstraZeneca vaccine will fit into the rollout).

Here are the key takeaways everyone should know:

  • COVID vaccines are being offered to those age 80 or older, or those deemed a priority by the province or local health units. If that’s not you, you’ll have to wait.
  • Toronto — due to a number of factors — is still vaccinating just a handful of 80-plus people a day at this point. So while seniors in the general public may be able to pre-register for a vaccine, they will face a longer wait than others for their first shot.
  • You should only be vaccinated in the city you live in. Remember, the overarching goal is still to limit the potential spread of COVID-19, which means staying close to home as much as possible.

One more note: this guide is intended for the general public, and doesn’t capture those who will be vaccinated by specialized teams — for example, mobile teams distributing vaccines in homeless shelters or other congregate settings.

Now that that’s clear, here’s where you should go to book a vaccination spot if you qualify.

Toronto

Toronto Public Health will eventually run mass vaccination sites across the city but isn’t at this time due to a lack of vaccine, according to its website.

You can try to pre-register at some Toronto hospitals, including North York General, Michael Garron and Sunnybrook, but expect a broader rollout of vaccination clinics in the coming weeks.

Peel

Peel Public Health is directing residents to vaccination clinics in Brampton and Mississauga.

You can book at Brampton’s William Osler Health System, or Mississauga’s Trillium Health Partners.

York

York Region is running five appointment-only vaccination clinics and its website features a handy tool to help you find the closest one to you.

Note: You must book online.

Durham

Durham’s vaccine plan will launch on March 8 with two clinics set to operate at recreation centres in Clarington and Pickering.

In addition to those aged 80-plus and health-care workers, the region will offer vaccines to all Indigenous adults and adults who rely on home care. 

Halton

Halton is running appointment-only vaccination clinics in Oakville, Burlington, Georgetown and Milton. You can book online here

The public health unit is also offering free transportation to its clinics, though that travel must be booked 48 hours in advance.

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