Library staff will help as Toronto strives to get people aged 80 and over on board with COVID-19 vaccine

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Library staff will help as Toronto strives to get people aged 80 and over on board with COVID-19 vaccine


Staff at the Toronto Public Library plan to call 35,000 seniors to help them sign up for their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as the city’s vaccination campaign aims to reach its older residents.

Mayor John Tory said in a public briefing on Monday that library staff will contact senior library card holders and provide them with more information on how to make appointments, starting with 10,000 residents aged 80 and over, then 25,000 between 70 and 79. .

“We’re doing everything we can to get as many shots as possible as soon as possible, supply allowed,” Tory said.

The Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) is also working to immunize its elderly residents. As of Friday, TCHC had held vaccination clinics in 23 senior citizen buildings with five more scheduled for this week. Of the door-to-door vaccines offered, about 70% accepted the vaccine, Tory said.

The city has also provided funding to senior-focused groups, including culturally specific organizations, to help reach their customers about vaccinations.

According to Toronto Public Health on Sunday, 68,360 Toronto residents aged 80 and over had received at least one dose of COVID-19 – nearly 50% of that age group.

That number included people vaccinated in long-term care homes and other gathering places, but does not include people vaccinated on Monday.

The Toronto Public Health Department said on Sunday that nearly 25,000 additional appointments for people aged 80 and over had been booked at three city-run sites. If all these seniors were vaccinated, the total vaccinated would be closer to 68%.

Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr Eileen de Villa, said the city aims to vaccinate at least 70% of the population to achieve what is called herd immunity – greater protection for all, including those who do not. are unable to receive the vaccine. ensuring that a critical mass of residents are immunized.

“The more we can get that coverage rate, the better for all of us,” she said.

Coun. Josh Matlow (Ward 12 Toronto-St. Paul’s), who has advocated for better elder care and mobile clinics, said he would like more to be done to reach seniors. He said Tory supported these new ideas.

“We shouldn’t wait for the elderly to come to our house to get vaccinated,” said Matlow. He said the city was registering the elderly for sidewalk snow removal, recreational activities and more, and that those lists could also be used to reach more people.

Those with cognitive or mobility issues may have more difficulty finding their way around major city venues like the Metro Toronto Convention Center, Matlow added. City officials on Monday acknowledged queues outside several venues and long wait times they said they were working to resolve.

“It is so important for these very reasons to allow every senior to get vaccinated as quickly as possible,” said Matlow.

The city also announced a tenth major clinical site, in the Thorncliffe Park area at the East Toronto Community Center, in partnership with East Toronto Health Partners and the Ontario Health team serving East Toronto. The site opens Wednesday and will currently vaccinate people aged 75 and over.

As of Monday morning, 302,498 people – including non-Toronto residents who work in the city – had received at least one dose, with the vaccination rate skyrocketing this month as additional supplies became available from the federal government .

Reservations can be made at any open clinic in town by visiting https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/ or 1-888-999-6488 (TTY 1-866-797-0007) .

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Healthcare partners offering appointments can be accessed directly by visiting https://vaccineto.ca.

Those aged 60 and over can contact participating pharmacies at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations.

Jennifer Pagliaro is a Toronto-based reporter who covers city hall and municipal politics for The Star. Follow her on Twitter: @jpags



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