The City of Toronto has partnered with Unity Health Toronto, University Health Network, and Inner City Health Associates to provide the city’s homeless population and frontline shelter workers with vaccination pilot clinics.
Unity Health Toronto recently ran a pilot clinic on Jan. 15, offering the Pfizer vaccine to more than 70 seniors and staff at Scarborough Village Residence. The new vaccination program aims at shelters with the largest senior populations and shelter residents at high risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes.
The aforementioned clinic is part of a larger model to help the city create a vaccine plan to protect the vulnerable homeless population. In addition to the Scarborough Village vaccine clinic, the Moderna vaccine was administered to more than 130 frontline workers at the city’s COVID-19 recovery program on Jan. 15.
These vaccination clinics aim to protect the city’s homeless population currently residing in the shelter system. Homeless shelters have been at the centre of COVID-19 spread, and many people experiencing homelessness have nowhere else to go. With the homeless population rapidly growing and shelters overflowing, the new vaccination pilot project is an essential element in distributing the vaccines.
— Unity Health Toronto (@UnityHealthTO) January 18, 2021
In addition to concrete vaccination plans, the city has implemented several methods to help keep shelter staff and residents safe. Some of those measures include physical distancing (and the space to do so), mandatory mask requirements, and recovery programs for shelter residents attempting to recover from COVID-19.
The various recovery centres the city has set up include space to recover, health care, housing necessary to recover, peer support, and harm reduction programs.
“We are making progress now — as part of an all hands on deck effort — to get the vaccine to our most vulnerable residents. The City of Toronto continues to roll-out important COVID-19 vaccinations through a coordinated effort with our Vaccine Taskforce, our local hospitals, and the province,” stated Mayor John Tory in a recent press release.
Additional vaccination pilot clinics for people experiencing homelessness are expected to appear at select shelters as the city receives more vaccinations. Updates on the current status of Toronto’s homeless population concerning the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the city’s website.
Other vaccination milestones were also achieved this week. The province announced that the first round of vaccines have been administered in all long-term care homes in Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex ahead of schedule.
Additionally, the pilot mass vaccination clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre opened on Monday.
As of 8 p.m. Monday, 224,134 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across the province.