Toronto to open COVID-19 vaccination bookings for residents aged 80 and over

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Toronto residents aged 80 and older will be able to book appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations at the city's mass immunization sites starting Friday.

The city said Wednesday that 133,000 appointments for the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be available for three of its mass vaccine sites.

Those bookings will be for immunizations that take place between March 17, when the sites open, to April 11.

Residents will get early access to the province's booking portal to make the appointments, said Toronto's fire chief, who leads the city's COVID-19 response.

That will prevent a delay in launching the city's vaccination operations, said Matthew Pegg.

"These three clinics are opening two weeks ahead of schedule and in direct response to increased vaccine availability," said Pegg.

More appointments in Toronto will become available next week as clinic operations expand based on vaccine supply, said Pegg.

Ontario's booking system will be fully deployed on Monday.

Earlier this week, a group of Toronto hospitals and health centres said a call entre and website were set up to help eligible residents pre-register or book vaccinations at their facilities while the provincial site was still under development.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said the ramp up in vaccinations was a positive development.

"The sooner we are all vaccinated, the sooner we can move beyond this pandemic," he said.

The city plans to eventually operate nine mass vaccination clinics that it says will be able to administer more than 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine every month once at capacity.

The city said 211,247 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in Toronto as of Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2021.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Denise Paglinawan, The Canadian Press