Toronto residents aged 80 and older can now book an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine at one the city's mass immunization clinics.
The city has retained early access to the province's online booking portal, which is not set to launch until Monday.
About 133,000 spots are available through Toronto's COVID-19 site. The appointments are for March 17 through April 11 at one of three mass vaccination clinics that will be operational next week.
If you want to make an appointment, or assist someone who will be 80 or older in 2021 to do so, follow these steps:
This brings you to the province's online booking system where you will have to input the registrant's provincial health card, date of birth, postal code and email and/or mobile phone number.
You can then schedule a first vaccination appointment, and an appointment to receive a second dose.
Appointments were initially going to be limited to three mass immunization clinics, but three additional city-run clinics are also being brought online, with each of the six clinics operating seven days per week, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Clinics opening on March 17:
1. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W.
2. Scarborough Town Centre, 300 Borough Dr.
3. Toronto Congress Centre, 650 Dixon Rd.
Clinics opening on March 29:
4. Malvern Community Recreation Centre, 30 Sewells Rd.
5. Mitchell Field Community Centre, 89 Church Ave.
Clinic opening on April 5:
6. The Hangar, 75 Carl Hall Rd.
Pharmacy vaccination pilot expanding
Once the province's online portal becomes available next week, Ontarians will also be able to book appointments by phone through a central call centre.
Meanwhile, a pilot project offering COVID-19 vaccines in pharmacies is expanding more broadly today.
Some pharmacies in Toronto, Windsor and Kingston health units have already started offering AstraZeneca vaccines to residents between the ages of 60 to 64.
Justin Bates of the Ontario Pharmacists' Association says additional shots were to arrive yesterday. That means vaccinations are set to begin at more sites today.
He says interest in the pilot has been overwhelming.
Individual pharmacies are using their own booking systems and Bates says people should check online before calling due to high call volumes.
Stick to your own region, Ministry says
The program is also drawing interest from outside the three participating cities — prompting concern from the Ministry of Health.
At least one pharmacist in Windsor said he would welcome residents from outside the area to book vaccination appointments, if they met the age criteria, CBC Windsor recently reported.
In a since-deleted tweet, Aurora, Ont. Mayor Tom Mrakas suggested his region's residents try booking vaccine appointments at "any pharmacy location in Toronto" that is offering the shots, and shared the link to book.
But Ministry officials are strongly encouraging pharmacies administering these doses to ensure residents live in their public health unit — with broader availability expected to ramp up as the supply increases.
"Ontarians should get their vaccination within their public health region to help manage vaccine allocations," said spokesperson Lindsay Davidson in a statement.