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'The time to act is now': City to open COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Last Updated Jan 11, 2021 at 5:03 pm EDT

Toronto officials said the City is set to open a “proof-of-concept”, COVID-19 immunization clinic that will run out of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The City’s top doctor, Eileen de Villa, confirmed it will begin operations one week from today, on Monday, Jan. 18.

De Villa says many people spent too much time together through December, but adds, “we can turn this around.”

“As more vaccines become available in the months ahead, I hope that everyone takes advantage of the opportunity to get vaccinated so that we can one day put this virus behind us,” she said.

“In the meantime, there has never been a time when it has been more important to take steps for self-protection, including staying home as much as possible and avoiding spending time indoors with people we don’t live with. We must remain committed at the individual level so that we can get through this pandemic to better days ahead.”

The Toronto-run vaccination clinic will begin with frontline workers receiving Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, offering roughly 250 doses per day for three weeks.

Second doses will be administered to the same people three-to-four-weeks later. Both the choice to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the choice to participate in the initial immunization clinic is on a voluntary basis.

Mayor John Tory said this will be the first clinic program in the City of its kind.

“The task of making vaccinations available to three million people requires initial steps forward like this,” the mayor said.

“This site will be focused on vaccinating people designated by the province as next in line for the vaccine, including frontline healthcare workers in our shelter system and public health workers who will work themselves as COVID-19 immunizers.”

RELATED: De Villa calling on Ontario to apply 10-day paid emergency sick leave

Last week, University Health Network (UHN) CEO, Dr. Kevin Smith, said his employees have “exhausted their supply” of COVID-19 vaccinations, citing an urgent need for more treatments with appointments rapidly filling up.

Tory has said the province should move to “urgently” impose a full lockdown similar to the one implemented during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said Ontario should shut down more businesses, including big box stores so that people have “fewer places to go” and return to restricting their own activities.

Of the 3,338 new COVID-19 cases reported today, 931 of them are in Toronto.

On the subject of curfews, a measure not currently being considered by the province, de Villa says there isn’t any real evidence that they actually work.

“There is, however, a great deal of evidence that focuses on distance, distance, and distance,” Toronto’s top doctor said.

The provincial government has said it hopes to safely vaccinate all residents, health care workers, and essential caregivers at long-term care homes in the priority regions of Toronto, Peel, York, and Windsor-Essex by Jan. 21.

“I cannot stress enough the immense amount of work underway within your city government to help the province roll out the vaccine,” Tory added.

As part of Phase 1, the province affirmed that 95,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and almost 53,000 doses of Moderna vaccines have been delivered to date.

Gen. Rick Hillier has said that an estimated total of over two million doses is expected in this phase.

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