Toronto opening tens of thousands of appointments for Moderna vaccine for next week

Toronto has opened 30,000 new COVID-19 Moderna vaccine appointments for next week at city-run immunization clinics.The news comes as virus indicators continue to improve and more city services resume. The outdoor pools that have remained close will reopen Saturday as will Riverdale Farm and High Park Zoo.The Moderna vaccine appointments for eligible adults, including people who got Pfizer or Moderna on or before May 9, or received AstraZeneca eight or more weeks ago, went live in the provincial booking system late Friday afternoon.On Monday, another 60,000 Moderna appointments for eligible adults will open for the following week, starting June 28.The new appointments come thanks to a large new supply of Moderna flowing into Canada, augmenting shipments of the other approved mRNA-technology vaccine, from Pfizer.Moderna is not authorized for children aged 12 to 17. Parents can make Pfizer appointments for kids at city clinics through the provincial booking system or via health partner pop-up clinics offering Pfizer for 12-year-olds and teens.Appointments at city-run clinics can be booked through the dark blue “Book a Vaccine” button at http://www.toronto.ca/covid-19 or by calling the provincial vaccine booking line at 1-833-943-3900.The new Moderna appointments follow advice Thursday from Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization that mRNA vaccines are the preferred second doses for anyone who got AstraZeneca vaccine for their first shot.The extra vaccine is helping efforts to get as many people fully immunized as quickly as possible to give them maximum protection from the highly contagious Delta COVID-19 variant. Three-quarters of Toronto adults now have at least one dose and one-quarter are fully vaccinated. The rate of first dose shots has flattened, but the number of fully vaccinated Torontonians is rising rapidly.Spread of Delta among unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people could threaten to reverse rapidly falling COVID-19 levels and Ontario’s reopening plan , which is set to see hair salons and some other services resume starting around July 2.Toronto announced Friday that 46 outdoor swimming pools across the city will open Saturday, after 10 other pools opened earlier. Residents are encouraged to book 45-minute swim slots via www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/recreation/swimming/, but some walk-in spots are available.Riverdale Farm and High Park Zoo, which have been closed for some time, will also reopen, but with capacity limits. Toronto Zoo also reopens to the general public Saturday , but tickets must be bought in advance.The new vaccine appointments will Toronto’s nine city-run clinics ramp up to 125,000 doses per week. People are also getting vaccinated at participating pharmacies and at clinics operated by hospitals and health partners, including some that have seen massive lineups of people eager to get second doses this week.Mayor John Tory has urged Torontonians to take advantage of the appointments for Moderna, which, the city is noting, is extremely similar to the Pfizer vaccine.But Tory, who got AstraZeneca for his first shot and had planned to get it for his second shot as well, said he is now not sure what he’ll do, given that federal health authorities are recommending Pfizer or Moderna for second doses.He said he plans to consult a medical expert and then decide if he’ll go back to a pharmacy for AstraZeneca or make an appointment at a city-run clinic for an mRNA vaccine.David Rider is the Star's City Hall bureau chief and a reporter covering city hall and municipal politics. Follow him on Twitter: @dmrider

Toronto opening tens of thousands of appointments for Moderna vaccine for next week

Toronto has opened 30,000 new COVID-19 Moderna vaccine appointments for next week at city-run immunization clinics.

The news comes as virus indicators continue to improve and more city services resume. The outdoor pools that have remained close will reopen Saturday as will Riverdale Farm and High Park Zoo.

The Moderna vaccine appointments for eligible adults, including people who got Pfizer or Moderna on or before May 9, or received AstraZeneca eight or more weeks ago, went live in the provincial booking system late Friday afternoon.

On Monday, another 60,000 Moderna appointments for eligible adults will open for the following week, starting June 28.

The new appointments come thanks to a large new supply of Moderna flowing into Canada, augmenting shipments of the other approved mRNA-technology vaccine, from Pfizer.

Moderna is not authorized for children aged 12 to 17. Parents can make Pfizer appointments for kids at city clinics through the provincial booking system or via health partner pop-up clinics offering Pfizer for 12-year-olds and teens.

Appointments at city-run clinics can be booked through the dark blue “Book a Vaccine” button at http://www.toronto.ca/covid-19 or by calling the provincial vaccine booking line at 1-833-943-3900.

The new Moderna appointments follow advice Thursday from Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization that mRNA vaccines are the preferred second doses for anyone who got AstraZeneca vaccine for their first shot.

The extra vaccine is helping efforts to get as many people fully immunized as quickly as possible to give them maximum protection from the highly contagious Delta COVID-19 variant.

Three-quarters of Toronto adults now have at least one dose and one-quarter are fully vaccinated. The rate of first dose shots has flattened, but the number of fully vaccinated Torontonians is rising rapidly.

Spread of Delta among unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people could threaten to reverse rapidly falling COVID-19 levels and Ontario’s reopening plan , which is set to see hair salons and some other services resume starting around July 2.

Toronto announced Friday that 46 outdoor swimming pools across the city will open Saturday, after 10 other pools opened earlier. Residents are encouraged to book 45-minute swim slots via www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/recreation/swimming/, but some walk-in spots are available.

Riverdale Farm and High Park Zoo, which have been closed for some time, will also reopen, but with capacity limits. Toronto Zoo also reopens to the general public Saturday , but tickets must be bought in advance.

The new vaccine appointments will Toronto’s nine city-run clinics ramp up to 125,000 doses per week. People are also getting vaccinated at participating pharmacies and at clinics operated by hospitals and health partners, including some that have seen massive lineups of people eager to get second doses this week.

Mayor John Tory has urged Torontonians to take advantage of the appointments for Moderna, which, the city is noting, is extremely similar to the Pfizer vaccine.

But Tory, who got AstraZeneca for his first shot and had planned to get it for his second shot as well, said he is now not sure what he’ll do, given that federal health authorities are recommending Pfizer or Moderna for second doses.

He said he plans to consult a medical expert and then decide if he’ll go back to a pharmacy for AstraZeneca or make an appointment at a city-run clinic for an mRNA vaccine.

David Rider is the Star's City Hall bureau chief and a reporter covering city hall and municipal politics. Follow him on Twitter: @dmrider

Source : Toronto Star More   

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Waterloo Region’s Delta-fuelled COVID-19 surge is having the greatest impact on the homeless population

Waterloo Region is grappling with a continued surge of COVID-19 infections bolstered by the highly infectious Delta variant — and the homeless population has experienced the brunt of the outbreak. While Waterloo has not specified which congregate settings have had an outbreak, it’s listed them as the source of 94 cases, by far the largest source of infections in the region. The region told the Star about a dozen congregate sites make up the outbreak, and it’s not considered over.But to get infections under control, Waterloo Region needs to ramp up its strategy with those who use the shelter system and provide further resources to shelters, as more vaccines coming in won’t be enough without a targeted approach that convinces the population to take it, said Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease doctor at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton.The region’s medical officer of health said the shelter population has been prioritized from the start of the vaccine rollout. But the homeless are vulnerable and will need extra supports to ensure the two-dose vaccine regimen is followed through, health experts and shelter workers said.“If it’s not being dealt with aggressively, it’s going to get out of control faster than the vaccines can put it back into control,” said Chagla. On Thursday the province announced it will provide mobile teams to run pop-up clinics in hot spot neighbourhoods, and two teams with trailers and tents will arrive in the region next week and remain for two weeks. The purpose of the mobile teams is to send extra help to where the Delta variant is taking hold.In recent weeks there have been a number of social gatherings that weren’t recommended, and that combined with the Delta variant has caused the cases to spike and hit vulnerable populations, said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, the medical officer of health.“The Delta variant is broadly circulating in Waterloo region and has been for a few weeks,” she said. Waterloo prioritized the homeless early on in the vaccine rollout and worked with community partners, but it can be difficult to convince people to receive a shot, said Wang. She said that 83 per cent of the region’s cases are unimmunized people and 14 per cent are partially vaccinated. “We did everything that was needed to be done in trying to make sure they had isolation spaces, medical care and mobile teams were out for vaccination and testing,” she said. “And there’s been a bit more acceptance of the vaccine among this group, but we’re still working to get that acceptance.”Ontario reported Friday that the region had 85 new COVID cases, the second time this week it had the highest case counts in the province. The province reported 345 new cases, so nearly a quarter of the infections were from Waterloo Region.Cases in the region have been rising since June 3 and continue to spike as the provincial average has sharply declined amid widespread vaccine coverage. As of Friday, Waterloo had a seven-day moving average of 10.9 cases per 100,000 — about four times the province’s average of 2.7 cases.Ontario sped up second doses as of Wednesday in the region as well as Halton, Durham, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph and Porcupine, and it added Hamilton, Durham and Simcoe Muskoka on Thursday. Toronto and Peel have already been prioritized. In those regions, those vaccinated May 30 or earlier with a first dose can now receive a second dose.Elizabeth Clarke, the CEO of the YW Kitchener-Waterloo, which provides community services including shelters for women and their children, said COVID hadn’t hit the shelter system in the region to this degree before.“It’s just raced through the population,” she said. In their shelter they’ve had 18 positive client cases and two positive staff cases, she said, but no new cases in the last week.Waterloo received vaccinations later than other regions because it wasn’t dealing with the brunt of COVID in the province, so there’s some catching up to do in vaccinating the population including those who are homeless, said Clarke. Things should improve now that the focus is on the shelter system, she said. Only recently has there been such a focused effort to vaccinate the homeless, she said. “Now we’re having clinics come right into the shelters.” To better target the homeless population, Stacey Bricknell, the primary nurse practitioner at the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre, and her team are going to where people are living and eating to offer vaccination outside of the shelter system. Lately it’s been challenging to find people who are not already unwell, she said.“We really have to use the relationships we have with this population to try to educate and encourage people to have immunization, and recognize it will take more than one conversation,” she said.In March, those in emergency shelters were offered first doses and they had a decent supply, but the homeless population is vulnerable and requires further connections from community organizations to be convinced, she said.Br

Waterloo Region’s Delta-fuelled COVID-19 surge is having the greatest impact on the homeless population

Waterloo Region is grappling with a continued surge of COVID-19 infections bolstered by the highly infectious Delta variant — and the homeless population has experienced the brunt of the outbreak.

While Waterloo has not specified which congregate settings have had an outbreak, it’s listed them as the source of 94 cases, by far the largest source of infections in the region. The region told the Star about a dozen congregate sites make up the outbreak, and it’s not considered over.

But to get infections under control, Waterloo Region needs to ramp up its strategy with those who use the shelter system and provide further resources to shelters, as more vaccines coming in won’t be enough without a targeted approach that convinces the population to take it, said Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease doctor at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton.

The region’s medical officer of health said the shelter population has been prioritized from the start of the vaccine rollout. But the homeless are vulnerable and will need extra supports to ensure the two-dose vaccine regimen is followed through, health experts and shelter workers said.

“If it’s not being dealt with aggressively, it’s going to get out of control faster than the vaccines can put it back into control,” said Chagla.

On Thursday the province announced it will provide mobile teams to run pop-up clinics in hot spot neighbourhoods, and two teams with trailers and tents will arrive in the region next week and remain for two weeks. The purpose of the mobile teams is to send extra help to where the Delta variant is taking hold.

In recent weeks there have been a number of social gatherings that weren’t recommended, and that combined with the Delta variant has caused the cases to spike and hit vulnerable populations, said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, the medical officer of health.

“The Delta variant is broadly circulating in Waterloo region and has been for a few weeks,” she said.

Waterloo prioritized the homeless early on in the vaccine rollout and worked with community partners, but it can be difficult to convince people to receive a shot, said Wang. She said that 83 per cent of the region’s cases are unimmunized people and 14 per cent are partially vaccinated.

“We did everything that was needed to be done in trying to make sure they had isolation spaces, medical care and mobile teams were out for vaccination and testing,” she said. “And there’s been a bit more acceptance of the vaccine among this group, but we’re still working to get that acceptance.”

Ontario reported Friday that the region had 85 new COVID cases, the second time this week it had the highest case counts in the province. The province reported 345 new cases, so nearly a quarter of the infections were from Waterloo Region.

Cases in the region have been rising since June 3 and continue to spike as the provincial average has sharply declined amid widespread vaccine coverage. As of Friday, Waterloo had a seven-day moving average of 10.9 cases per 100,000 — about four times the province’s average of 2.7 cases.

Ontario sped up second doses as of Wednesday in the region as well as Halton, Durham, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph and Porcupine, and it added Hamilton, Durham and Simcoe Muskoka on Thursday. Toronto and Peel have already been prioritized. In those regions, those vaccinated May 30 or earlier with a first dose can now receive a second dose.

Elizabeth Clarke, the CEO of the YW Kitchener-Waterloo, which provides community services including shelters for women and their children, said COVID hadn’t hit the shelter system in the region to this degree before.

“It’s just raced through the population,” she said. In their shelter they’ve had 18 positive client cases and two positive staff cases, she said, but no new cases in the last week.

Waterloo received vaccinations later than other regions because it wasn’t dealing with the brunt of COVID in the province, so there’s some catching up to do in vaccinating the population including those who are homeless, said Clarke.

Things should improve now that the focus is on the shelter system, she said. Only recently has there been such a focused effort to vaccinate the homeless, she said. “Now we’re having clinics come right into the shelters.”

To better target the homeless population, Stacey Bricknell, the primary nurse practitioner at the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre, and her team are going to where people are living and eating to offer vaccination outside of the shelter system. Lately it’s been challenging to find people who are not already unwell, she said.

“We really have to use the relationships we have with this population to try to educate and encourage people to have immunization, and recognize it will take more than one conversation,” she said.

In March, those in emergency shelters were offered first doses and they had a decent supply, but the homeless population is vulnerable and requires further connections from community organizations to be convinced, she said.

Bricknell is reminding the homeless population that the shot could help ease the restrictions they have faced.

“This has had a significant impact on the homeless population in terms of the spaces where they congregate, a lot of them have been closed,” she said. “A lot of folks would like to see a return to normal life.”

Olivia Bowden is a Toronto-based staff reporter for the Star. Reach her via email: obowden@thestar.ca

Source : Toronto Star More   

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