Quebec, Ontario officials say many vaccine appointments unfilled, ask seniors to act

·3 min read

As COVID-19 cases continued to climb in Canada's two biggest provinces on Sunday, officials in Ontario and Quebec said there are vacant vaccination appointments that need to be filled.

In Toronto, Mayor John Tory pleaded with those aged 70 and older to get vaccinated.

"We have the vaccines, we have the staff in place to do it and we have the appointments, so all we need now is you," Tory said.

"It’s very, very important for people across the city of Toronto to get vaccinated."

The city is set to open two mass vaccination clinics Monday now that the vaccine supply has been fixed, he said

He said three new COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics will open Monday, but there are still many appointments unfilled.

"We’re now in a position where we have lots of appointments available, even appointments available for this coming week," Tory said.

"We need you to sign up, not to put it off."

Ontario reported 2,448 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the fourth consecutive day with more than 2,000 daily cases.

Tory says more than 450,000 people in Toronto have received doses thus far.

"I will say I’m not satisfied, and that doesn’t mean I’m critical or angry with anybody, it just means I’m asking people to take advantage of the opportunity to get vaccinated now and we’ll be satisfied when we have a sold out situation," Tory said.

Ontario has fully vaccinated 309,285 people and has administered nearly two million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Michael Garron Hospital and the Toronto East Health Network opened up a vaccination standby list for those who are part of the province's Phase 2 populations.

But the website crashed shortly after it opened up due to high volume, the Toronto East Health Network said.

On Sunday it said it has taken down the site for now due to "an extremely high volume of submissions" while it figures out how to move forward on standby vaccinations.

In Quebec, Minister of Health Christian Dube urged residents to get vaccinated.

"There are still appointments available in the coming days in some regions, especially in Montreal," he said for those aged 60 years and older.

Quebec has given doses to 76 per cent of those 80 and over, as well as 52 per cent of those 70 years and older and 17 per cent of those aged 60 to 69. The vast majority are first doses, very few have been fully vaccinated.

As of last week, Quebec said about 75 per cent or more of all age groups 65 years and older had either received a vaccine or made an appointment.

The province reported 917 news cases of COVID-19 on Sunday after breaking the 1,000-mark on Saturday for the first time since mid-February.

— With files from Morgan Lowrie in Montreal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2021.

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said three new vaccination sites would open in Toronto on Monday. In fact, two new sites will open.