Toronto opening up 90K new COVID-19 vaccine appointments

With people across the city clamouring for COVID-19 vaccines, the City of Toronto says it is opening up 90,000 new vaccine appointments over the next two weeks.

In a news release, the city says the move is in response to “continued unprecedented demand” as eligibility for second doses opens up further.

“These additional 90,000 appointments over the next two weeks will help people who want their first or second doses as soon as possible,” Mayor John Tory said in a statement. “Thank you to everyone working across Toronto to help our residents get vaccinated and thank you to everyone stepping forward to get their first and the just as important second shots.”

The city says that later today, it will announce when 30,000 appointments at city-run immunization clinics will open in the provincial booking system for the week of June 21.

Then on Monday, the remaining 60,000 appointments will open for the week of June 28.

More doses are coming as the spectre of the delta variant hangs over the province. In its news release, the city calls the variant “a real threat” to the progress that has been made pushing down COVID-19 cases in the city.

“To protect our community, our health system and our reopening, each of us need to get or complete our vaccinations as soon as possible,” Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said in a statement. “I’m most concerned about people who haven’t been vaccinated at all. 

“The Delta variant poses a demonstrated risk of infection to anyone who is not fully vaccinated — and that is everyone who has only had one dose of vaccine or had none at all. With new appointments, comes new opportunities to get vaccinated as soon as you can.”

The city says Toronto clinics are looking to administer around 125,000 doses each week, starting on June 22. Officials also note that because the additional vaccine supply is Moderna, only people over the age of 18 are eligible to book within these new appointments.

Pfizer vaccine appointments remain for anyone over the age of 12 at city-run and health partner clinics, the news release says.

The city also notes that both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are “incredibly similar with near identical efficacy rates,” and so a mixed mRNA model of combining doses has been approved by the federal and provincial governments.

At a news conference Thursday, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones stressed that people should take whatever vaccine is available to them the soonest, be it Pfizer or Moderna.

“They are interchangeable, and the efficacy is within data points,” she said.

The city also notes that anyone with an existing appointment not made in the provincial booking system who re-books at a city-run clinic is urged to cancel their existing appointment and open up slots for other people.

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