March 8 Vaccine Update

March 8 Vaccine Update

Although I don’t usually send out mid-week newsletters, there were a number of vaccination announcements today that many of you have asked about.

Although the Province decides which groups gets vaccinated in what order and is also in charge of the vaccine supply, Toronto has been asked to play a large role in actually getting needles into arms. The City has developed the capacity to administer a remarkable 970,000 doses a month, dependent on an adequate supply from the Province. With that qualifier, today’s news was all good. Here’s what you may want to know:

  • The City has opened a new website at https://vaccineto.ca, and call centre (1-888-385-1910) that will replace the multiple hospital booking platforms that have popped up over the last several days.
  • Only those in the Province’s   Priority I category can register at this time. This includes front-line health care workers and residents 80 or over who have not yet received a first vaccine dose.
  • On March 17, the City will open mass immunization clinics, beginning with three sites: the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Scarborough Town Centre and Toronto Congress Centre.  Bookings for these clinics will be initially offered to residents that have registered through the above website.
  • The City website does not replace the Provincial website that will launch on March 15.  The Provincial site will assign vaccine bookings to a much larger number of City-run clinics, while the City website will continue to offer bookings at hospital locations.
  • I remain hopeful these websites and databases will be merged into a single platform, but this has not yet been confirmed.  In the meantime, there is nothing preventing qualifying residents from registering on multiple platforms to see which offers the fastest appointment.
  • The City announced today the following expected delivery timetable of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to be used in City-run and hospital partner clinics. These will allow more clinics to be operational in early April, with capacity to eventually run 24/7 with adequate vaccine supply:
    • Week of March 15 – 17,500 doses
    • Week of March 22 – 98,920 doses
    • Week of March 29 – 174,200 doses
    • Week of April 5 – 80,730 doses
    • Week of April 12 – 80,730 doses.
  • The new City website does not cover clinics in pharmacies to distribute the AstraZenica vaccine to residents aged 60-64.  The Province is starting with pilot projects at a small number of locations but this is expected to expand rapidly to distribute more than 150,000 doses in Toronto which must be used before they expire April 2.  More information is expected soon on both the registration portal and how this will eventually be incorporated in the Provincial system.
  • The new City website does not cover vaccine that may be made available through your family doctor or healthcare practitioner.

It is not yet known if the various booking systems will eventually fit together, how the Province will prioritize those in Phase 2 of the vaccination schedule, or when the city will receive enough vaccine to open the clinics at Mitchell Field and other locations.

I’m expecting more information on some of these questions by Wednesday, and will continue to provide updates as soon as possible.

– John

This post was written by