The City of Toronto’s VaxTO campaign has increased its efforts to connect residents over the age of 50 who are currently eligible for third doses with vaccination appointments and information ahead of Monday’s expanded eligibility.
Individuals aged 50 and over who received their second dose approximately six months ago became eligible to receive third doses on December 13, in addition to 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).
Earlier this week, approximately 72,000 text and email messages were sent to encourage eligible residents over 70 years of age to book their third-dose appointment as part of the VaxTO campaign. The campaign is now expanding its text and email outreach to include thousands of eligible 50-plus Torontonians.
This effort to help eligible residents book their booster doses is underway ahead of Monday’s expanded eligibility by the Province of Ontario. Starting Monday, December 20, residents 18 and older who received their second dose at least three months (84 days) ago will be eligible to book their third dose.
The City of Toronto encourages eligible residents to book appointments as soon as possible to receive their third dose by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 (TTY 1-866-797-0007). Learn more on the City of Toronto’s COVID-19: How to Get Vaccinated webpage.
Toronto residents can also receive their third dose of COVID-19 vaccine at one of more than 500 local pharmacies that are offering this vaccine. Residents can find the pharmacy closest to them that offers COVID-19 vaccines through the provincial website or on the City’s COVID-19: Vaccine Clinic Locations webpage.
In addition, Toronto residents can receive their COVID-19 vaccine at many doctors’ offices and at other hospital and health care partner clinics.
Employing an evidence-informed approach, the VaxTO campaign uses a combination of tools including targeted text messages, emails, telephone town halls and other outreach to share information with many of those eligible and works to remove any barriers facing residents.
The campaign continues to reach out to all eligible first-dose recipients to encourage them to get their second dose. As well, VaxTO has focused efforts on parents and caregivers of five- to 11-year-olds, to encourage uptake in this age group by answering questions, providing information and dispelling myths through telephone town halls. The first town hall took place on Tuesday, December 14 and attracted more than 51,000 attendees. Around 61 per cent of attendees said they left the town hall with more knowledge to make their decision. The next town hall is scheduled for Saturday, December 18 at 1 p.m. and will feature an Associate Medical Officer of Health from Toronto Public Health and a paediatrician from the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids).
Residents can join the telephone town hall by calling 1-833-490-0778 or by tuning in via webstream.
Last week, the VaxTO campaign connected with 500,000 Torontonians through interactive broadcast voice messages, featuring Mayor John Tory. This outreach enabled more than 5,500 people to transfer directly to the provincial call centre to book an appointment. Those contacted represent communities across Toronto, with a focus on neighbourhoods where vaccination uptake has been historically below the City’s overall average.
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 1.8 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. Eleven telephone town halls ranging from city-wide, to ward and language specific have also been hosted with approximately 150,000 total attendees. The campaign has connected directly by telephone with close to 16,000 residents, tackling a variety of vaccine hesitancy and accessibility concerns to encourage second doses.
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.
“Our VaxTO campaign is working to make sure residents who are now eligible for their booster doses know they are eligible and that they can book an appointment. Given the threat of the Omicron variant, it is so important that residents get their third dose as soon as they can. We are using every part of our VaxTO campaign to connect with residents to help people get booster doses as soon as they are eligible, help families get the information they need to help their kids get vaccinated, and continuing to reach out to unvaccinated residents and offering to help them get their first and second doses. VaxTO is one more way the City of Toronto is doing everything it can to help residents get vaccinated. This is part of the Team Toronto effort that has led to our city having one of the highest vaccination rates among major cities around the world.”
– Mayor John Tory
“The VaxTO campaign is able to target groups and link them to relevant information and resources on vaccination, addressing hesitancy and barriers. These groups include caregivers who need information on paediatric vaccination, those who have not yet received their second dose and those who are eligible for third doses. We strongly encourage Torontonians who are eligible get their third shot as soon as possible 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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