‘Hold onto the light’: Toronto to vaccinate 50% of all adults with first doses this weekend

TORONTO — Half of all adults in Toronto will have received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccine this weekend, marking an important milestone, officials say, in the fight against the deadly disease.

The City of Toronto announced the update in a news release on Saturday, saying officials anticipate that first doses of the vaccines will be administered to at least 50 per cent of people over the age of 18 by the end of the weekend.

“Reaching this milestone … reminds us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This is a long tunnel though, and we have work to do before we see the end,” Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said in a statement on Saturday.

“But, we know, that after as little as four weeks after a first dose of vaccine, that single dose can help prevent an outbreak, a fourth wave and help save lives. Hold onto the light, Toronto.”

To date, health-care partners and the city have administered 1,379,532 COVID-19 vaccine doses in Toronto, which is home to more than 2.9 million people. Over the last few weeks, officials have been targeting high-risk neighbourhoods.

The city said that vaccination teams are expecting to vaccine 12,510 people at various pop-up clinics in hot spot areas on Saturday. These pop-up clinics will take place at Grandravine Community Centre, Albion Arena, Warden Hilltop Community Centre, St. John the Evangelist Church and the Woodbine Race Track.

Tomorrow, the city will hold a pop-up clinic at Thorncliffe Park Community Hub to vaccinate 4,032 people in the hot spot area.

Currently, people 18 and over living in any of the 53 hot spots identified by the Ontario government can book their COVID-19 vaccine through the province’s online booking system instead of waiting at a pop-up clinic.

Anyone over the age of 50 and people with high-risk health conditions, as well as some essential workers unable to work from home, are also eligible to book a vaccine through the portal.

The city said it’s working with its health-care partners to operate around 36 clinics this weekend, including mobile teams and on-site clinics, to vaccinate Toronto residents who booked an appointment through the online portal.

Toronto residents 40 years of age and older are able to book vaccination appointments at some pharmacies to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Earlier this week, the provincial government announced that Ontario residents aged 18 years old and up can also get the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine at select pharmacies in hot spots across the province.

“This weekend we are reaching another milestone,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a statement on Saturday. “Thank you to all our hospital and healthcare partners who are working with the city and community organizations to get residents vaccinated.”

“This is a non-stop effort. It’s about saving lives and getting life back to normal. It’s about hope, summer, jobs, family and good health. Now, let’s get on to 65 per cent Toronto – on our way back to the lives we know and love.”

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