Hundreds line up as pop-up clinics offer COVID-19 vaccines to children aged 12 and over
TORONTO -- On the same day Ontario expands vaccine eligibility to all adults, some pop-up clinics in Toronto hot spots are targeting children as young as 12.
Hundreds of students lined-up at John Polanyi Collegiate Institute in North York on Tuesday to receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Charlotte Bratina, 15, was the first student to get the shot on Tuesday.
"I'm excited because COVID-19 has been hard on my family and not being able to see my friends ," she said. "A lot less stress in worrying how it will spread and knowing that you are protected."
The clinic operated by Women's College Hospital, is a partnership between the Toronto District School Board and Unison Community Health.
"I got my first shot six weeks ago and my biggest concern has always been the kids with the variants, so this is great news for them," said Daniel Prussky who brought his two teenage sons to the clinic.
The high school is located in a Covid-19 hotspot in the Lawrence Avenue West and Allen Road area with an infection rate of 554 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the area, according to data provide by Toronto Public Health.
"It's important to get them vaccinated to prevent transmission and to keep schools open," said Dr. Hajot Atwal who is the medical lead for the vaccine clinic. "We know the areas we are serving now have the highest rates of COVID-19 and the least access to vaccines."
Officials say more than 900 students who attend the high school and select feeder schools in the neighbourhood were eligible for the vaccine.
"This is important because it's really honouring our student and community voice and what they've been telling us is they are not feeling safe in school right now in the pandemic and would like to be back and feel safe," said Margaret Greenberg, a Toronto school principal.
Other pop-up vaccination clinics targeting students ages 12 to 17 were also held at Don Bosco High School and Oakridge Junior Public on Tuesday.
This comes after Health Canada approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be administered to children aged 12 and older earlier this month.
"We know people under the age of 18 can get this infection, transmit this infection, contribute to community spread. They are still extremely important to cover for vaccination if we want to end this pandemic faster," UHN Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch told CP24 on Tuesday.
Officials with Women's College Hospital tell CTV News Toronto the vaccination clinic at John Polanyi will be open to all residents 12 and older who live or work in M hot spots.