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Toronto says more than 350 different immunization sites will be ready to administer COVID-19 vaccines

Last Updated Mar 1, 2021 at 7:34 pm EDT

Khushpreet Gulati, right, arrives from India and receives a mandatory COVID-19 test at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, February 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

New details have been laid out about exactly how Toronto is going to vaccinate its entire population with officials confirming there will be 350 different immunization clinics when the time is right.

“The sooner we have needles in arms, and the more needles in arms we have, the better off we all are,” said Toronto’s medical officer of health Eileen de Villa on Monday.

The nine city-operated immunization clinics are on schedule to be ready to open on or before April 1.

But neither de Villa nor anyone else in the City Hall briefing on Monday afternoon could say exactly when vaccinations will begin, or even when people can sign up to get their shot in the arm.

Toronto officials say it all depends entirely on the supply of vaccines and that the city will be making use of the provincial sign-up system when it is proven to work well.

RELATED: ‘It’s easier to store, easier to administer’ – Ontario health expert confident J&J vaccine will be approved

Mayor John Tory said five of the nine mega-vaccination sites across Toronto are currently ready to open when the supply of vaccine allows.

He then confirmed there will be more than 350 smaller vaccination sites.

“We expect approximately 49 vaccination clinics operated by hospitals, a further 46 vaccination clinics operated by community health centres, and approximately 249 vaccination clinics operated by pharmacies,” said the mayor.

The city says once fully operational – seven days per week, nine hours per day – it is estimated that more than 120,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses will be administered each week through the network of Toronto-operated clinics.

“As Medical Officer of Health in Canada’s largest city, we have a lot of people to vaccinate. The partnership in Toronto health care means we are able to deliver vaccines across the city as they become available,” de Villa added.

RELATED: York Region begins booking vaccine appointments for residents 80 and older

“In the meantime, we must all remain vigilant and keep practicing the measures for self-protection: stay home as much as possible, keep as much physical distance you can from people you don’t live with, wear a well-fitting mask and wash your hands often.”

The city needs a vaccination rate of at least 70 percent, so to help get people out to the vaccination sites, roughly 100 neighbourhood ambassadors will be working with officials to spread the word.

They will be anyone from your priest or imam, down to your local barber.

Since the start of the pandemic, de Villa says there have been a total of 97,656 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 312 new cases on Monday.

To date, there have been 2,659 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. In total, 91,224 people have recovered.

A provincial stay-at-home Order for Toronto has been extended until at least March 8.

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