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Toronto permanently closing its fixed-site COVID-19 vaccination clinics next month

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The City of Toronto will soon be shutting down its four fixed-site COVID-19 vaccination centres as emergency pandemic funding from the province ends.

On Dec. 13, the clinics at Metro Hall, Cloverdale Mall, North York Civic Centre, and the site near the Scarborough Town Centre will permanently close.

“These vaccination clinics were initially established as a temporary measure in response to a global health crisis to ensure fast, equitable access to vaccines for Toronto residents,” the city noted in a news release issued this week.

“Leveraging these clinics, (Toronto Public Health) provided a range of vaccines including routine vaccinations for children under the ISPA and SIP, influenza (flu), COVID-19, meningococcal and MPOX. These clinics played a significant role in supporting Toronto’s largest vaccination campaign and ensuring effective outbreak responses in the past three years.”

Over the course of the pandemic, Toronto Public Health administered more than 2.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines at fixed-site and mobile clinics.

The closures come as wastewater data now shows that the rate of COVID-19 infection in Ontario is at its highest point in more than a year. The Public Health Ontario data also suggests that other indicators are pointing to rapidly rising levels of viral activity as the temperature drops and residents spend more time indoors.

The responsibility for COVID-19 vaccinations will now primarily fall to primary health care providers and pharmacies in Toronto.

“As we close the final chapter of the last four fixed-site vaccination clinics on December 13, I want to express my gratitude for the community’s commitment. Staying current with your COVID-19, flu, and routine vaccinations is especially crucial as we enter the respiratory illness season,” Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said in a written statement.

“I am deeply thankful to Torontonians for prioritizing vaccination through their healthcare providers and the services provided by participating pharmacies across the city.”

Toronto Public Health is also seeking nearly $4 million in additional funds from the Ministry of Health to address “gaps” in the Student Immunization Program.

“Between 2019 and 2022, Ontario’s childhood vaccination programs faced disruptions due to limited in-person opportunities, the closure of school-based clinics and the redirection of public health resources,” the city’s news release read.

“The provincial funding request to enhance immunization coverage for Toronto’s school-aged population is set for consideration by Toronto City Council on December 13, pending the actions of the Board of Health.”

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