Torontonians aged 70 and up now allowed to book COVID-19 shots at mass vaccination sites

·3 min read
Eligible Torontonians are being urged not to delay signing up for vaccine appointments.  (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)
Eligible Torontonians are being urged not to delay signing up for vaccine appointments. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)

The City of Toronto is lowering the age threshold for its mass vaccination sites, with those aged 70 and up able to start booking appointments Saturday at 8 a.m.

"People born in 1951 or earlier can now get vaccinated at the city clinics," said Mayor John Tory at a news conference on Friday. Those 60 or older in Toronto are already able to book vaccines at some pharmacies.

The move comes as the city implores more older Torontonians to book their appointments, with nearly 30,000 slots set to be available next week.

"While registrations reached 100 per cent capacity during the first week of city-run clinic operations, more bookings are available," the said in a news release Friday.

Toronto is the first region to allow those in the 70-75 age range to book vaccines through the province's main portal. According to a release from the province, other public health units will follow soon.

You can get information on how to book an appointment here.

"I cannot stress this enough: if you are eligible for vaccination, book your appointment as soon as possible. Don't wait," said Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's medical officer of health, in the statement.

According to the latest report, about 436,000 doses of vaccine have been administered in the city so far.

Toronto has also announced what it's calling the vaccine equity transportation plan, which provides rides to appointments for eligible residents.

Toronto is encouraging younger relatives and friends to help older loved ones get their vaccines.
Toronto is encouraging younger relatives and friends to help older loved ones get their vaccines. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Though the program isn't entirely up and running, the city says rides are available for next week.

Personal care services allowed to open next month

On Friday, the province announced that personal care services across Ontario will be permitted to reopen next month in regions in the province's grey-level lockdown zones — which includes Toronto.

The government also announced that outdoor fitness classes and outdoor training for team and individual sports will be permitted in the grey-level lockdown zones as of Monday.

In response, Tory appeared approving of the fitness updates, saying that the activities set to be allowed "are things that we in fact had suggested might be appropriate in our discussions with the province last week."

He was less positive about the possibility of personal care services reopening, though it wasn't clear what steps he might take to oppose their return.

Tory said that should be approached with "a degree of caution," something he said is appropriate "in light of everything that is happening."

"As much as that may be disappointing to some, including me," he added, gesturing to his longer hair.

200k Ontarians over 80 not signed up

Earlier this week, a CBC News story explored why some 200,000 Ontarians over the age of 80 had yet to sign up to get a shot, with experts citing hesitancy, transportation issues and language barriers as possible issues.

At Friday's news conference, Chief Matthew Pegg, manager of the city's office of emergency management, offered assurance to the city's seniors that the vaccination process is quick and easy.

"The clinics are set up well. It is a seamless process," he said. "If you require assistance mobility wise we are prepared."

Pegg says he's been finding inspiration in watching people emerge from the clinics after receiving their first shot.

"The smiles and the optimism on the face of these people as they are coming out," he said.