Shipments of the newly authorized AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine have arrived

Toronto administers over 210K vaccines, Sunnybrook sets up field hospital and more COVID news

As of March 10, Toronto Public Health has administered 211,247 COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Approximately 22 clinics—a combination of mobile teams and on-site vaccination clinics via Toronto hospitals and community healthcare centres—are operating on Wednesday to vaccinate priority groups:

  • Unity Health Toronto: vaccinations will take place at two on-site clinics and two mobile clinics in congregate settings on Wednesday. Health officials will vaccinate approximately 1,000 people—priority hospital and community-based healthcare workers, local pharmacy staff, local dentists and their staff, people 80 and older, hemodialysis patients, individuals living in congregate settings, members of the Indigenous community and shelter staff.
  • University Health Network–Mid-West Toronto: vaccinations will take place at two on-site clinics and a mobile clinic on Wednesday. Approximately 450 doses will be given to healthcare students and individuals 80 and older at the on-site clinics, and 185 doses to chemotherapy patients 80 years and older, individuals living in congregate care settings, shelters and homebound seniors.
  • Michael Garron Hospital – East Toronto Health Partners: vaccinations will take place at two on-site clinics on Wednesday (Warden Hilltop Community Centre and MGH), in addition to one primary care pop-up clinic and deployment of two mobile teams. They will vaccinate approximately 765 people—healthcare workers, first responders from Toronto Police Service, community members who are 80 years and older and individuals living in congregate settings.
  • Humber River Hospital: they will vaccinate approximately 674 people on Wednesday, including healthcare workers, long-term care staff and essential caregivers, first responders and individuals 80 years and older.  Vaccinations will take place at the on-site clinic and a mobile clinic.
  • North York General Hospital and North York Toronto Health Partners: they will hold three clinics on Wednesday to vaccinate approximately 700 people—hospital healthcare workers, individuals living in shelters, and community members 80 years and older.
  • Scarborough Health Network: at two on-site clinics and two mobile clinics, they will vaccinate over 2,180 people on Wednesday. These include healthcare workers, residents 80 years and older referred by their primary care physicians and members of the vaccination team at the on-site clinics.
  • Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre: at one on-site clinic, they will vaccinate approximately 1,000 people on Wednesday who are community residents (80 and older), Indigenous adults, adults who receive home care, community healthcare workers, and hospital, long-term care and retirement home staff.

The City of Toronto will also open three mass immunization clinics on March 17 for Toronto residents over the age of 80. Details on how to book an appointment will be made in the coming days. As vaccine supply for the general population becomes widely available, the city has identified approximately 353 locations (including pharmacies and mobile clinics) where the vaccine can be administered.

Meanwhile, select Rexall Pharmacies in the Toronto, Kingston and Windsor/Essex Public Health Units have been selected to administer the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to eligible patients—individuals aged 60 to 64 years of age, as per the recommendations of the National Advisory Committee for Immunization, which recommended that it not be administered to people 65 years of age or older, as there is limited data on how well the vaccine will work in older populations.

“Rexall has set up a ‘waitlist’ booking platform in order to help us book appointments for eligible patients as we receive vaccines. We will notify you when you are eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine with Rexall. Appointments will be limited and being on the waitlist does not guarantee an appointment due to limited supply of vaccine,” the pharmacy noted on its website.

Rexall named 25 participating locations in Toronto, including locations at First Canadian Place, College Park, Yonge & Eglinton, Queen & University, Church & Wellesley, St.Clair Centre, Mount Sinai, Atrium on Bay, Spadina & College, Church & Front and Dundas & Spadina.

Last Wednesday, it was announced that Ontario is receiving an estimated 190,000 doses of the newly approved AstraZeneca vaccine in March and that approximately 114,000 of those doses will have an expiration date of April 2.

To date, Health Canada has approved four vaccines for use in Canada. People have been vaccinated according to the order they are listed in Ontario’s vaccine distribution plan:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech – approved on December 9, 2020
  • Moderna – approved on December 23, 2020
  • AstraZeneca – approved on February 26, 2021
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) – approved on March 5, 2021

Ontario is currently still in phase 1 of its rollout plan, which focuses on high-risk populations (approximately 1.8 million people).

Phase 2 is expected to begin in April, with mass deliveries of vaccines (approximately 9 million people) targeted toward adults aged 60-79, high-risk congregate settings, individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers, essential workers who can’t work from home and at-risk populations. Phase 3 (Adults 59 years and younger) is scheduled for July 2021 and onwards (although in a press briefing last Friday afternoon, retired general Rick Hillier, who is overseeing the COVID-19 vaccination rollout in Ontario, noted that the government’s aim is for every eligible adult, who wants to be vaccinated, to have their first needle by the first day of summer).

As of 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, 978,797 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province.

On Wednesday, Ontario reported 1,316 cases of COVID-19, including 428 new cases in Toronto, 244 in Peel and 149 in York Region. The province also logged 16 additional deaths with more than 54,000 tests processed.

Meanwhile, fears of a possible third-wave of the virus are mounting. Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre was photographed setting up a mobile field hospital in its parking lot on Tuesday in preparation to deal with a possible third wave, as reported by CP24.

The field hospital will include ventilators, oxygen machines and portable x-ray machines.

This has left some wondering how effective the vaccines are and whether the province is opening back up too quickly.

In a press conference last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned that we have to keep taking strong public health measures “otherwise we could see a third wave that is even worse than the second or the first.”

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