The Strategies on this page played a large role in the success of the City of Toronto’s COVID-19 vaccine efforts. Many focused on reaching equity-deserving groups that were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. These strategies have now concluded. See below for information and timelines.
The City’s COVID-19 Immunization Task Force, which included experts from Toronto Public Health, Toronto Fire, Toronto Paramedics Service and the Emergency Operations Centre, planned the mass immunization of Torontonians once the COVID-19 vaccine was approved in December 2020. This was a huge accomplishment, with millions of doses given at our clinics. The Task Force used lessons learned from annual flu vaccine clinics and experiences from the H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009 to inform plans. To learn more, see the City’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program Playbook.
Toronto’s Accessibility Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines was established in March 2021 as part of the City’s COVID-19 Immunization Task Force outreach efforts and Toronto Supports: Targeted Equity Action Plan. It was formed in response to the high health risks associated with COVID-19 for people with disabilities and the need for improved information on and access to vaccination. (Read the news release and backgrounder.)
The Task Force, a collaboration between the City of Toronto, community agencies and health partners, provided advice on enhanced support and access to COVID-19 vaccines for people with disabilities. This was one of the approaches used to communicate, mobilize and engage communities most affected by the pandemic in order to address systemic inequities.
The Black Scientists’ Task Force on Vaccine Equity was created in December 2020 as part of the Toronto Supports: Targeted Equity Action Plan, as a response to data that continued to show that the highest rates of COVID-19 cases and vaccine hesitancy were among Black people of African and Caribbean origins.
The Task Force was created in partnership with the TAIBU Community Health Centre, to address Black community concerns and issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, testing and vaccines, and was one of the approaches used to communicate, mobilize and engage communities most affected by the pandemic in order to address systemic inequities.
The Task Force included many of Canada’s top Black scientists involved in key aspects of vaccine development and Black public health, and developed public health recommendations to effectively address Black community concerns. The Task Force presented the final report of its findings and recommendations to the City in June, 2021.
Learn more about the Black Scientists’ Task Force on Vaccine Equity:
The work of Vaccine Engagement Teams (VETs) were a key component of the world-leading success and impact of the City’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign. VETs focused on supporting equity-deserving groups that were disproportionately and most negatively impacted by COVID-19, including older adults experiencing isolation, people experiencing homelessness, people living with disabilities and mental health trauma, newcomer populations and racialized communities including Indigenous, Black, and South Asian, that have historically experienced systemic oppression and exploitation from government and medical institutions.
In April 2021, the City of Toronto awarded $5.5 million COVID-19 Vaccine Engagement Teams Grants to more than 155 community groups and agencies.
In December 2021, $4.5 million of additional funding was awarded to continue critical outreach to equity-deserving groups in high-priority neighbourhoods alongside over 200 community groups and agencies.
In July 2022, an additional $4.6 million in funding was awarded to ensure continued opportunities to increase vaccine equity and access for all residents until December 2022.
The Toronto Youth Vaccine Engagement Strategy was launched in June 2021 to establish youth-targeted equity engagement and mobilization actions, and to encourage and enable vaccine uptake among vulnerable youth in communities disproportionally affected by COVID-19.
The strategy was part of the City’s Vaccine Engagement and Mobilization Plan and was a partnership between the City of Toronto and the Toronto Youth Cabinet — a City advisory body that promotes youth participation in municipal affairs and policy development.
The Toronto Youth Vaccine Engagement Advisory Committee (TYVAC) is a youth-led group made up of members of the Toronto Youth Cabinet and other youth leads to ensure engagement and outreach tactics were developed with a youth-friendly lens. TYVAC consisted of three subcommittees:
Learn more about the Toronto Youth Vaccine Advisory Committee Members
Youth Focus Groups: From March to May 2022, TYVAC led five focus groups interviewing four diverse youth groups: Youth (general), Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (2SLBGTQ+) youth, Black, African and Caribbean youth, South Asian youth and Youth Outreach Workers from Social Development, Finance and Administration and Parks, Forestry and Recreation Divisions. These findings were compiled and distributed across VET teams and Toronto Public Health staff to spread awareness of youth needs during the pandemic.
Read the Youth Focus Group Report.
Youth-Focused Communications Guideline: In May 2021, youth aged 12-29 became eligible to receive a primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine. This presented a need and opportunity for targeted outreach and engagement initiatives that reflect the diversity of Toronto youth, and TYVAC launched the Youth-Targeted Communications Guideline. This resource was shared with community and health partners across Toronto and was integrated into the Vaccine Engagement Teams toolkit.
Read the guideline document .
ArtWorksTO Video Series: In partnership with the City of Toronto vaccine engagement partners, TYVAC supported the development of a ten-part testimonial-based video series. The video series aimed to reach and encourage vaccination to undecided Toronto residents. The video series provided an opportunity for the employment of youth by leveraging the creative expertise of young artists from ArtWorksTO .
Watch the video series (under Videos – COVID-19 Stories)
In January 2022, the City of Toronto awarded $450,000 to four youth-serving community organizations through the Toronto Youth Vaccine Engagement Strategy Grant. The following agencies were selected:
These organizations worked with the Toronto Youth Vaccine Advisory Committee (TYVAC) and Vaccine Engagement Teams (VETs) to enhance and develop citywide, youth-focused COVID-19 vaccine engagement strategies.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Toronto Public Health provided mobile vaccination clinics throughout the City and targeted promotion campaigns. These were part of the City’s efforts to make COVID-19 vaccines as accessible as possible and to bring vaccines to where residents live, work and play.
The hyper-local mobile strategy also provided more opportunities to equity-deserving groups and neighbourhoods facing barriers or with low vaccination uptake to get their COVID-19 vaccines.
See a timeline and details of these vaccination clinics and campaigns below:
Vaccine clinics ran in the northwest part of the city during June 2022 to augment vaccination opportunities for residents who live, work and play in these neighbourhoods. Read the news release.
Toronto Public Health (TPH) brought temporary COVID-19 vaccination clinics to local community centres to make it as convenient as possible for residents ages 65 and older – and their families – to get their next eligible vaccine dose. Read the news release.
Team Toronto brought COVID-19 vaccination clinics to shopping centres and community clinics across Toronto as part of the City’s Shop And Vax campaign. Read the news release.
Vax And Ride brought COVID-19 vaccine clinics to 11 TTC subway stations across Toronto with no appointment or TTC fare required. Vax And Ride was part of Team Toronto’s equity-focused, hyper-local mobile strategy to make COVID-19 vaccines as accessible and convenient as possible. Read the news release.
The Vaccine Text Line connected residents with resources about the City of Toronto’s COVID-19 Immunization Program including appointment bookings, information on vaccines and upcoming telephone town halls. The service was available in 15 languages including English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Tagalog, Tamil, Urdu, Spanish, Portuguese, Farsi, Korean, Italian, French, Bengali, Vietnamese and Gujarati. Read the news release.
Vax And Read offered 45 COVID-19 vaccination clinics in 12 Toronto Public Library branches across Toronto. Read the news release.
Vax And Spring offered more than 20 vaccine clinics in neighbourhoods across the city. Read the news release.
There were more than 70 COVID-19 vaccine clinics across Toronto during the school March Break. Many of the clinics were family-friendly and youth-focused to support a positive vaccination experience. Community centres hosting CampTO March Break programs made vaccination easy and convenient for participants. Read the news release.
Team Toronto brought COVID-19 vaccination clinics to shopping centres and community clinics across Toronto for the City’s latest Shop And Vax campaign. Read the news release.
Vax The East was a 10-day campaign to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates across Toronto’s east end. In total, Team Toronto vaccinated 3,127 people including 1,240 children age five to 11 during Vax The East. Read the news release.
On Sunday, January 23, Team Toronto administered first, second, third and children’s COVID-19 vaccines in Tennis Canada’s Aviva Centre at York University. The one-day event was for people of all eligible ages from Northwest Toronto neighbourhoods, with a focus on neighbourhoods with lower vaccination rates. Read the news release.
During the month leading up to the holiday season, Team Toronto put the focus on direct community access to COVID-19 vaccines at mobile clinics in shopping malls and community centres. Toronto residents were able to get their first, second or third dose (if eligible) of the COVID-19 vaccine while doing their holiday shopping or other errands at local walk-in clinics. Read the news release.
On Sunday December 12, 2021, many of Toronto’s youngest community health superheroes received a COVID-19 vaccination at Scotiabank Arena as part of Toronto Kids Vaccine Day. Team Toronto vaccinated more than 1,500 children aged five to 11 years old. The one-day-only special event aimed to ensure that young people felt safe and relaxed as they got their COVID-19 vaccine. Read the news release.
From Thursday, November 11 to Sunday, November 14, dozens of mall and neighbourhood clinics across Toronto offered COVID-19 vaccination as part of the City of Toronto’s third Shop And Vax campaign. Read the news release.
Super supportive clinics operated in Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough from November 5 to 7, hosted by Toronto’s Accessibility Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines, Toronto Public Health, the Accessibility Collaborative, vaccine engagement teams and ambassadors. The clinics were open to all, held in physically accessible locations, and accommodated specific needs such as:
Read the news release.
Vax And Treat featured 26 walk-in clinics from Thursday, October 28 to Sunday, October 31 at select malls, schools, hospitals and community centres. Read the news release.
Vaccine walk-in clinics were open at six TTC subway stations from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Thursday, October 21 to Saturday, October 23. Read the news release.
Shop And Vax 2.0 brought COVID-19 vaccine clinics to local shopping centres and pharmacies on Saturday, October 16 and Sunday, October 17. This campaign expanded on the first Shop And Vax, held in late September, by featuring pop-up clinics in local plazas and malls. Read the news release.
VaxGiving took place October 6-15, with vaccination clinics offered over the Thanksgiving long weekend. The City promoted clinics at TTC stations, malls, schools, community centres and libraries – places Torontonians live, work and play – open to anyone who needed a first or second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Read the news release.
On Saturday, October 2, 2021, Toronto residents born in 2009 or before were invited to get their first or second COVID-19 vaccine dose in their own neighbourhood. #Vax25 featured 37 vaccine clinics, with at least one clinic in each of the City’s 25 wards. Read the news release.
City of Toronto partnered with Toronto Public Health, University Health Network, along with Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd. and Oxford Properties Group to hold a number of mobile clinics to support a low-barrier access for residents to get their first or second COVID-19 vaccine dose at local shopping centres. Read the news release.
Team Toronto delivered a city-wide series of pop-up vaccination clinics for first and second doses from Thursday, September 16 to Sunday, September 19, 2021. Days of Vaxtion partners included Toronto Public Health, the TTC, Black Creek Humber Summit, Humber River Hospital, Michael Garron Hospital, North York General Hospital, Sherbourne Health, Unity Health, Scarborough Health Team and other community partners. Read the news release.
On June 27, 2021, the City of Toronto and Team Toronto vaccination partners held the Toronto Vaccine Day “Our Winning Shot” clinic at Scotiabank Arena. Close to 27,000 Torontonians go a COVID-19 vaccine dose, which is believed to be a new world record for most one-day COVID-19 vaccinations given at a single clinic.
Total vaccines administered: 26,771
Total adults vaccinated: 25,476
Total youth vaccinated: 1,295
First doses: 981
Second Doses: 25,793
Read the news release.