City to begin administering COVID-19 vaccines to those in Toronto's shelter system
TORONTO -- Starting next week, the city will begin administering COVID-19 vaccines to people in Toronto's shelter system.
In a news release issued Sunday, Toronto Public Health confirmed that hospital and community health partners will start to vaccinate people experiencing homelessness, a group that has been identified by the province as a priority population during Phase 1 of the vaccination program.
The city intends to start with shelters at the highest risk of COVID-19 outbreaks and will continue the rollout as more doses arrive in Toronto.
"We are doing everything we can to support the provincial and federal government in the vaccine rollout. We are working to vaccinate those at highest risk in our city as quickly as possible," Mayor John Tory said in a written statement released Sunday.
"This work will ramp up in the coming weeks as we receive more vaccine from the Government of Canada and it won't stop until every Toronto resident who wants a vaccine has been vaccinated."
Work continues to vaccinate all first-responders, city staff say.
When more vaccine doses become available, those ages 80 and older will be the next group to receive their first shot.
Elderly residents of the city will be able to book an appointment to receive the vaccine starting on March 15. When the online appointment portal launches next month, the province has urged those who are not yet eligible to receive a vaccine to stay off of the portal until it is their turn to be inoculated.
"Vaccination is resuming in earnest in Toronto. Already we are seeing promising responses to the vaccines in those who’ve been vaccinated in other parts of the world. Declining rates of illness in our own residents of long term care in Toronto are showing how much protection the vaccines provide," Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's medical officer of health, said in a written statement.
"A vaccinated Toronto is the foundation of the return to so many of the things we miss about life before COVID-19. As Medical Officer of Health I ask you to get your vaccination when your turn comes and, in the meantime, to keep practising the steps for self protection that are the best protection for the unvaccinated, which for the time being is most of us."