Following today’s provincial announcement of expanded eligibility for a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the City of Toronto is initiating the next phase of its VaxTO campaign to connect people with vaccination appointments and information. Using data from Thursday, December 2, as of December 12, approximately 515,000 Toronto residents will be eligible for their third dose of COVID-19 vaccine, with more becoming eligible in the coming weeks. In addition, approximately 145,000 eligible Torontonians have already received their third dose.
Effective Monday, December 13, the Province will expand the eligibility for a third dose to individuals aged 50 and over who received their second dose approximately six months ago.
This expanded eligibility is in addition to previously announced eligible groups, which includes immunocompromised individuals, health care workers, First Nations, Inuit or Métis peoples, and people who received a complete series of a Viral Vector Vaccine (two doses of AstraZeneca vaccine or one dose of Johnson and Johnson vaccine).
Starting on December 13, at 8 a.m., residents will be able to book their appointments to receive their third dose by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre.
Toronto residents will be able to receive their third dose of COVID-19 vaccine at one of more than 450 local pharmacies that are offering this vaccine. Toronto Public Health (TPH) estimates that pharmacies in the city have the capacity to administer 660,000 vaccine doses per month. Residents are asked to call or visit a pharmacy’s website and check if they need an appointment or if walk-in vaccinations are available. Residents can find the pharmacy closest to them that offers COVID-19 vaccines by visiting the provincial website or the City’s COVID-19: Vaccine Clinic Locations page.
In addition, Toronto residents can receive their COVID-19 vaccine at City-run immunization clinics, many doctors’ offices and at other health care partner clinics.
Ahead of today’s provincial announcement, the City made 28,266 appointments available for residents aged 12 plus at City-run immunization clinics for the weeks of December 14 and December 21. More appointments in future weeks will be made available later this month.
Employing an evidence-informed approach, the VaxTO campaign uses a combination of tools including targeted text messages, emails and other outreach to share information on third doses with many of those eligible and works to remove any barriers facing residents.
Since its launch in the spring, the VaxTO campaign has helped connect thousands of residents with COVID-19 vaccination information and resources through a variety of targeted, multilingual outreach methods. This includes sending approximately 1.3 million broadcast voice messages to phone numbers across the city in seven different languages, making more than 50,000 phone calls to residents through the call centre, and receiving more than 17,000 text messages through the text line, which offers 14 different language navigation options. Ten telephone town halls ranging from city-wide, to ward and language specific have also been hosted with approximately 100,000 total attendees. Most recently, the campaign focused on converting all eligible first-dose recipients to become fully vaccinated, second-dose recipients, connecting directly by telephone with close to 15,000 residents, tackling a variety of vaccine hesitancy and accessibility concerns.
Residents can find a City clinic or pharmacy location and be linked to more information by texting “VACCINE” to 1-833-750-0888. This service is offered in 14 languages.
“Opening up eligibility for third doses is the right decision and I’m glad the Province has moved forward with this today. We have moved to expand Team Toronto capacity for booster shots and will continue that work as eligibility expands. Our VaxTO campaign is ready to roll to help people get their booster shots over the coming weeks. VaxTO has been a key part of connecting residents with appointments and information. Now that the eligibility for booster shots has expanded, it makes sense to use this proven method to help break down barriers and encourage uptake. I encourage all eligible residents to get their third dose at pharmacies, City-run clinics, doctors’ offices and at other health care partner clinics.”
– Mayor John Tory
“The goals of the VaxTO campaign have been clear from the start: do whatever it takes to connect residents to resources, encourage vaccination and help address barriers. By reaching out and engaging with people eligible for booster shots directly, we’ll be able to encourage thousands of Torontonians to get their third shot and help to keep themselves, and our city, safe.”
– Councillor Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York), Chair of the Toronto Board of Health
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