The City of Toronto is now prioritizing 18 hotspot postal codes for first and second doses.
Mayor John Tory says starting today, the Team Toronto Sprint Strategy 2.0 mobile and pop-up clinics will be refocusing their efforts in areas where there is high incidence of COVID-19 and low vaccine coverage.
“We are continuing to follow the public health data and expert advice to make sure we are doing everything we can to get vaccine doses to where it will make the biggest difference in our fight against COVID-19 and the Delta variant,” said Mayor John Tory in a statement.
“We launched the Sprint Strategy to focus on our hottest hot spots and it made a tremendous difference that has allowed us to move forward with reopening.”
All adults in the 18 neighbourhoods who have yet to receive a first dose will be encouraged to get one — and all individuals who live, work or go to school in those areas and have received a first dose will be able to get a second shot at the appropriate minimum interval.
More Ontarians became eligible to book their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine this week.
Those aged 70 and older, as well as people who received their first dose on or before April 18, are currently eligible for a second dose.
Prioritized postal codes
The city says the Delta variant of COVID-19 is more infectious than other strains of the virus, including the B.1.1.7 variant which was the main cause of Toronto’s third wave.
The more transmissible Delta has prompted politicians and public health officials to urge Ontario to learn from the early mistakes of its vaccine rollout and prioritize hot spots.
Scientific evidence shows people with one vaccine dose are less protected against the highly infectious Delta variant.
Experts, including the scientific director of the province’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, have said Ontario should focus its second dose efforts on areas where the Delta variant is taking off.
The city’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eilleen de Villa said this week there are 122 cases of the variant confirmed in Toronto, but the confirmation process is slow and the picture can change quickly.
“With the Delta variant circulating in the city, Team Toronto is making every effort to increase first and second dose vaccination coverage in the neighbourhoods that have been hardest hit by COVID-19,” said de Villa.
“By protecting the most vulnerable, we protect Toronto as a whole. By decreasing barriers and bringing vaccines to the people most at risk, we protect the lives and communities disproportionately affecting by this pandemic.”
The science shows that one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine provides approximately 33 to 50 percent protection against the Delta variant.
Ontario provided an update on its COVID-19 vaccine rollout on Thursday, confirming that Toronto and other GTA regions will be prioritized for second doses.
Anyone that received a first shot on or before May 9 living in Toronto, Peel Region, York Region, Halton, Waterloo, among other select public health units, is eligible to book a second dose appointment on Monday.