Toronto – Mayor John Tory announced the City of Toronto’s Third Dose Drive to help as many residents as possible get their third COVID-19 vaccine dose.
Mayor Tory and Dr Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, outlined the strategy to deliver more third doses as quickly as possible during a visit to the Vax And Ride COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Union Station.
Recent provincial and Toronto-based data shows that during the Omicron-driven COVID-19 wave, residents with three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had the lowest rates of hospitalization, ICU admissions and there were less deaths experienced compared to individuals with fewer than three doses. As COVID-19 continues to circulate in the community, Toronto Public Health (TPH) is launching a Third Dose Drive to encourage eligible residents to get the best protection against this virus as soon as possible through the following initiatives:
- Pharmacy Pilot Program with four pharmacies
- Primary Care Pilot Program
- Hyper-local building mobile clinics
- 76 Vax And Ride clinics in TTC stations across the city
- VaxTO outreach to 40,000 people in 13 neighbourhoods with low third dose rates
The Third Dose Drive is part of Team Toronto’s continued equity-focused, hyper-local mobile strategy to make COVID-19 vaccines as accessible and convenient as possible. Youth ages 12 to 17 are eligible to receive a booster dose at least six months (or 168 days) after receiving their second dose. To receive a vaccine, residents must be 12 years of age at the time of their vaccination. Adults 18 years and older are eligible to receive a booster dose at least three months (or 84 days) after receiving their second dose. More information about third doses is available at the City’s COVID-19: Vaccine Eligibility & Doses webpage.
As of March 31, 91.6 per cent of residents 12 years and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, with 89.1 per cent of residents having gotten two doses. Of those, 55.8 per cent of eligible residents 12 and over have gotten their third dose. Residents between 70 and 79 years old have the highest rates of third dose coverage while residents in the 12 to 17 year old age group have the lowest third dose coverage rate.
Pharmacy Pilot Program
TPH has partnered with four local pharmacies as part of a pilot project to encourage eligible residents to get their third dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Through the pilot, an email is sent to existing pharmacy clients to encourage them to visit their pharmacy to get their third dose of COVID-19 vaccine, if they are eligible. The email will include pharmacy details and pharmacy-specific booking information. All participating pharmacies are in TPH-designated high-priority neighbourhoods, with lower uptake among residents who are 50 years of age and older.
Primary Care Pilot Program
TPH is also working closely with local community primary care providers to provide easy access for residents to obtain first, second and third COVID-19 vaccine doses directly from their primary care provider and family physicians. The project will pilot different ways to support and build capacity to provide COVID-19 vaccine doses in their offices.
Hyper-local building mobile clinics
TPH continues to micro-target buildings in areas with low vaccination rates and/or high rates of COVID-19 infection, or if the building itself has low vaccination coverage rates among residents 65 years and older. TPH and Team Toronto has held more than 488 pop-up clinics since October 2021 at retirement homes, long-term care facilities and apartment buildings to provide first, second and third doses to residents, in partnership with community ambassadors and Ontario Health Teams. TPH is planning additional pop-up clinics at these congregate settings, including six during the weeks of April 4 and 11, and other clinics by Team Toronto health partners.
Vax And Ride
Team Toronto’s Vax And Ride campaign continues to bring vaccine clinics to TTC stations across the city today and from April 7 to 10. Over a two-week span, a total of 76 clinics will take place in 11 stations across Toronto. Today, a one-day clinic will take place at Union Station from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. as part of the Vax and Ride vaccination campaign.
First, second and third doses will be offered at these vaccination clinics for eligible residents, with no appointment or OHIP card required. A full list of clinic locations and hours can be found on the City’s COVID-19: Pop-up Immunization Clinics webpage.
The City’s VaxTO campaign continues to reach out directly to older residents to encourage them to get their third COVID-19 dose. The recent campaign has been focused on individuals aged 50 and older who are most susceptible to severe outcomes should they contract COVID-19. The VaxTO call centre continues to contact approximately 40,000 people living in 13 Toronto neighbourhoods with the highest numbers of eligible residents who have not yet received a third dose of vaccine. This includes using live agents to connect with individuals whenever possible and addressing a variety of vaccine hesitancy and accessibility concerns, and other barriers to vaccination.
Recent TPH data has shown that the older and more under-vaccinated an individual infected with COVID-19, the more likely they are to require hospitalization. Unvaccinated individuals 60 years of age or older are at a risk at least six-times higher of hospitalization from COVID-19 infection compared to those with three doses. Residents in this age group also have 14-times higher risk of ICU admission from COVID-19 illness, compared to those with three doses. The benefit of three doses is also evident when comparing those 60 years of age and older with two doses to those with three doses; the risk of hospitalization is four-times higher with only two doses, and the risk of ICU admission is seven-times higher.
First, second and third doses of COVID-19 vaccines continue to be available at City immunization clinics, 525 local pharmacies, select primary care offices and other convenient locations such as apartment buildings, community centres and libraries.
More information about where to get vaccinated across the city is available on the COVID-19: Where to Get Vaccinated webpage.
“We are continuing our world-leading work helping residents get vaccinated with the Third Dose Drive. The best way to protect the progress we have made is for everyone to get their third dose. We are working non-stop to make sure vaccine clinics are accessible and available across the city for people who need their third dose. I continue to urge all residents to get their COVID-19 vaccine doses – first, second and third – so they have the best protection available against this terrible virus. Not getting vaccinated is not worth the risk to you and your loved ones. Please get vaccinated and make sure you get your third dose.”– Mayor John Tory