Undervaccinated neighbourhoods offered micro-clinics, incentives in Toronto outreach campaign
TORONTO -- Residents of the Tandridge Crescent community walked into their local school Monday—and emerged with a shot of Pfizer in their arm and a DoorDash gift card in their hand.
“Twenty-five dollars, that’s a lot of money,” said one young man, vowing to order Popeye’s chicken with the gift card he received as a vaccination incentive.
The so-called micro-clinic was set up at Braeburn Junior School as part of the city’s Home Stretch Vaccine Push campaign, which is targeting specific neighbourhoods with low immunization rates.
The northwest corner of Toronto is lagging behind the city’s vaccination averages, with 59 per cent of residents partially-vaccinated and only 36 per cent fully-vaccinated. City-wide, 60 per cent of adults have received two doses.
The focus in the priority neighbourhoods now is community outreach. Many people who attended the Tandridge Crescent clinic Monday had received a flyer in their mailbox or a knock at the door to make them aware of the set-up down the street.
“We’re just going at it, quite literally language-by-language, building-by-building, neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood,” Mayor John Tory said Monday.
“People have to go to work, [they] can’t wait, but they didn’t know about the locations that are nearby,” said Layth Jato, a clinic volunteer. “So we’re informing them, giving them addresses and stuff like that, we’re doing outreach at the same time.”
The targeted priority neighbourhoods include Elms-Old Rexdale, Kingsview Village-The Westway, Mount Dennis, Mount Olive-Silverstone-Jamestown, Weston and Englemount-Lawrence.
“There are about 20 per cent of people in high-risk neighbourhoods who do not have their first doses, so these are the door-to-door efforts that need to take place by community leaders and primary care providers that people trust,” said Dr. Andrew Boozary, a University Health Network physician.
Many of the targeted micro-clinics are also predominantly offering the Pfizer vaccine to reduce any possible hesitancy.