Surprise! Some Toronto community housing residents say they weren’t expecting to be vaccinated at the door

Many residents in a Toronto Community Housing building on Weston Road opened their doors Friday morning surprised to see two Humber River Hospital staff in yellow protective gear, face shields, mask and blue gloves, accompanied by a table filled with COVID-19 vaccines. The area, deemed as high-risk for COVID-19, became eligible for a mobile vaccination plan pushed by their local MPP, Faisal Hassan. Some 113 registered residents were ready with their health cards, but others who answered the knock on their door by hospital staff said they had no idea it was happening and some said communication was too last minute. “I honestly do not think that enough focus has been placed on people’s health, instead of what has been placed on economy,” said Tidy Francis, who rushed to the doorway and yelled in the hallway to medical staff asking if he could get the vaccine as an 80-year-old man. Francis said he wasn’t informed until the last minute and didn’t have the opportunity to register through a THC doorknock outreach, which enrolled tenants who wanted the vaccine. Francis says that it’s also the accessibility for health of the residents that are not being prioritized.“When they need you to vote? They know how to get to you. They have all these booths all over the place when they needed to vote, when it’s the takeaway health they should have something that’s similar.”Francis eventually was given papers, registered and came out with a chair from his apartment, holding his health card, ready for vaccination. Hassan said the residents in his area (York-South Weston) are victims of “neglect for 15 years” and “no clear plan” by the government to prioritize their health during the pandemic. “The inequalities that exist here is unacceptable.” said Hassan, who mentioned that his office reached out to Humber River Hospital to facilitate a pop-up vaccination in his area, along with TCH who was responsible for communicating with residents about vaccines coming to their front door. In addition, Hassan says he and his office are frustrated with the community not being prioritized by the government. “People have been calling me, emailing me and telling me, where do we register? Where do we get all of our vaccines?” says Hassan, who said he wrote to the minister of health to make Weston Lions Arena a permanent facility for vaccinations in the high-risk area. “So what they are simply trying to do is they are letting us down again and again. And this will be continued the capacity that we have become after thought in this community. That’s unacceptable.”There were 113 registered for the Weston Road building but others like Francis said they had no time to register and residents like 46-year-old Fola Ogunti wondered if her partner would miss out. Ogunti said there was no email and she saw no update about the mobile vaccine pop-up happening in her building.As she sat in front of her apartment after receiving her vaccination she said her doctor at Mount Sinai hospital usually informs her about vaccination updates, But when she opened the door to hospital staff she was shocked. “I didn’t think people in their 40s were, you know, eligible to get a vaccine yet, so I was (surprised) and happy at the same time.” Worried that her partner would not be able to get the vaccine, Ogunti spoke with Hassan who offered her the correct details to add him on a list to receive a visit since he was missed.Bruce Malloch, director of strategic communications at TCH, said the outreach rollout was “very co-ordinated.”“TCHC staff knocked on every door in the building (391 units) on Thursday April 1 to inform tenants about the clinic and register them if they said they wanted the vaccine.” said Malloch via an email to the Star of the outreach procedure. “If no one was home, staff left behind a notice with a name and phone number that tenants could call if they wanted to sign up for the vaccine. A number of them did so.”In addition, Malloch said THC posted posters on every floor, something Ogunti said she “might have missed.”In response to Hassan’s team stepping in to prioritize the process of mobile vaccination in the building Malloch said that TCH doesn’t “have a lot of dealings with the province,” who he emphazies is responsible for “determining the vaccines, who gets vaccinated and its rollout.”“Our role as Toronto Community Housing is to register tenants for a vaccination mobile clinic.”Malloch said people like Ogunti’s partner needn’t worry about being missed.“If we miss somebody today well we’ll get them again, we will keep going until we can get everybody vaccinated” said Malloch, who made it clear that this wasn’t just a one-time opportunity. “If there were some gaps (in communications), we would really want to know about that so we could learn and do better and we want to know who those tenants are so we can reach out to them.”Alma Coward, an 88-year-old resident known as the “good Samaritan” of the building, got her letter form TCH in the mail. 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Surprise! Some Toronto community housing residents say they weren’t expecting to be vaccinated at the door

Many residents in a Toronto Community Housing building on Weston Road opened their doors Friday morning surprised to see two Humber River Hospital staff in yellow protective gear, face shields, mask and blue gloves, accompanied by a table filled with COVID-19 vaccines.

The area, deemed as high-risk for COVID-19, became eligible for a mobile vaccination plan pushed by their local MPP, Faisal Hassan. Some 113 registered residents were ready with their health cards, but others who answered the knock on their door by hospital staff said they had no idea it was happening and some said communication was too last minute.

“I honestly do not think that enough focus has been placed on people’s health, instead of what has been placed on economy,” said Tidy Francis, who rushed to the doorway and yelled in the hallway to medical staff asking if he could get the vaccine as an 80-year-old man. Francis said he wasn’t informed until the last minute and didn’t have the opportunity to register through a THC doorknock outreach, which enrolled tenants who wanted the vaccine.

Francis says that it’s also the accessibility for health of the residents that are not being prioritized.

“When they need you to vote? They know how to get to you. They have all these booths all over the place when they needed to vote, when it’s the takeaway health they should have something that’s similar.”

Francis eventually was given papers, registered and came out with a chair from his apartment, holding his health card, ready for vaccination.

Hassan said the residents in his area (York-South Weston) are victims of “neglect for 15 years” and “no clear plan” by the government to prioritize their health during the pandemic.

“The inequalities that exist here is unacceptable.” said Hassan, who mentioned that his office reached out to Humber River Hospital to facilitate a pop-up vaccination in his area, along with TCH who was responsible for communicating with residents about vaccines coming to their front door.

In addition, Hassan says he and his office are frustrated with the community not being prioritized by the government.

“People have been calling me, emailing me and telling me, where do we register? Where do we get all of our vaccines?” says Hassan, who said he wrote to the minister of health to make Weston Lions Arena a permanent facility for vaccinations in the high-risk area. “So what they are simply trying to do is they are letting us down again and again. And this will be continued the capacity that we have become after thought in this community. That’s unacceptable.”

There were 113 registered for the Weston Road building but others like Francis said they had no time to register and residents like 46-year-old Fola Ogunti wondered if her partner would miss out.

Ogunti said there was no email and she saw no update about the mobile vaccine pop-up happening in her building.

As she sat in front of her apartment after receiving her vaccination she said her doctor at Mount Sinai hospital usually informs her about vaccination updates, But when she opened the door to hospital staff she was shocked. “I didn’t think people in their 40s were, you know, eligible to get a vaccine yet, so I was (surprised) and happy at the same time.”

Worried that her partner would not be able to get the vaccine, Ogunti spoke with Hassan who offered her the correct details to add him on a list to receive a visit since he was missed.

Bruce Malloch, director of strategic communications at TCH, said the outreach rollout was “very co-ordinated.”

“TCHC staff knocked on every door in the building (391 units) on Thursday April 1 to inform tenants about the clinic and register them if they said they wanted the vaccine.” said Malloch via an email to the Star of the outreach procedure. “If no one was home, staff left behind a notice with a name and phone number that tenants could call if they wanted to sign up for the vaccine. A number of them did so.”

In addition, Malloch said THC posted posters on every floor, something Ogunti said she “might have missed.”

In response to Hassan’s team stepping in to prioritize the process of mobile vaccination in the building Malloch said that TCH doesn’t “have a lot of dealings with the province,” who he emphazies is responsible for “determining the vaccines, who gets vaccinated and its rollout.”

“Our role as Toronto Community Housing is to register tenants for a vaccination mobile clinic.”

Malloch said people like Ogunti’s partner needn’t worry about being missed.

“If we miss somebody today well we’ll get them again, we will keep going until we can get everybody vaccinated” said Malloch, who made it clear that this wasn’t just a one-time opportunity. “If there were some gaps (in communications), we would really want to know about that so we could learn and do better and we want to know who those tenants are so we can reach out to them.”

Alma Coward, an 88-year-old resident known as the “good Samaritan” of the building, got her letter form TCH in the mail. Excited after her first vaccine, she said she “really approves” of the door-to-door vaccination because “we really need something inside (the building) to take care of us old people, from these kind of things. Some people have family, and some people don’t.”

Danica Samuel is a Toronto-based staff reporter for the Star. Reach her via email: dsamuel@thestar.ca or follow her on Twitter: @danicasamuel

Source : Toronto Star More