The city will to allow walk-ins at its Toronto Congress Centre COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic starting on Thursday.
About 2,000 spots will be available for walk-ins from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday to Sunday, the city said in a news release on Wednesday. Anyone 18 or older who walks into the clinic is eligible to receive a first or second dose of an mRNA vaccine. City-run clinics administer only Moderna to adults.
Mayor John Tory told reporters at a city hall news briefing on Wednesday that getting as many people fully vaccinated as possible is how the city will emerge from the pandemic.
"I encourage those who want to take advantage of this to come as early as they can," Tory said.
"Health professionals have been clear that COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community from COVID-19 and the emerging delta variant," he added.
"Every single resident in Toronto can therefore play a part, as you have been doing in making this a reality, to get the day closer to when the pandemic is behind us."
Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city's medical officer of health, said in the release that the city is making strides in getting people vaccinated.
"We continue to make great progress in our vaccination efforts, thanks to Torontonians who are rolling up their sleeves to protect our community, and the tireless commitments of our Team Toronto health partners," she said.
"There are many vaccine appointments available and I encourage all residents to get their first and second dose of vaccine as soon as possible, in whichever way is most convenient."
Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, head of the city's office of emergency management, said "enhanced" vaccine supply has enabled the city to introduce a walk-in vaccine program.
"The walk-in program is in addition to the scheduled program for vaccine appointments," he said.
"There will be a clearly defined walk-in client line with clinic staff there to greet and assist those who arrive for walk-in services. We will monitor and will consider expanding walk-in services and other clinics moving forward."
The city will provide the number of walk-in appointments available each day to Vaccine Hunters Canada, a team of people who help eligible Canadians find vaccine spots, to enable them to share the information on social media.
To date, 3,710,805 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the city as part of its "Team Toronto" initiative.
Depending on demand, people who arrive without appointments may have to line up outside the clinic, keeping two metres apart, with staff managing the line, the city said in the release.
"With warm weather continuing and rain forecast for Thursday, walk-ins are asked to prepare appropriately for a short wait outdoors," the city said.
"The City will be evaluating the effectiveness of the walk-in program and will consider expanding walk-in appointments to other City-operated vaccination clinics based on clinic capacity and appointment availability," the city added.
Residents without OHIP health cards can call one of the city's "vaccine registration partners" to create the necessary "proxy ID" in the provincial vaccine system. Information on how to connect with vaccine registration partners that can help create a proxy ID is on the city's COVID-19: How to Get Vaccinated webpage.
Once a proxy ID is created, people without an OHIP card can walk in to the Toronto Congress Centre clinic to get vaccinated. The clinic is located at 650 Dixon Rd. in Hall F.