The City of Toronto partners with Unity Health Toronto, University Health Network and Inner City Health Associates on COVID-19 vaccination pilot clinics for people experiencing homelessness and frontline shelter workers in select shelters.
Unity Health Toronto ran a clinic January 15 to offer the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine to more than 50 senior residents and more than 20 staff of the city-operated Scarborough Village Residence shelter site. This clinic is part of a pilot to vaccinate people experiencing homelessness and staff at up to four shelter sites, with support from the city’s Shelter Support and Housing Administration, Toronto Public Health and the Inner City Health Associates (ICHA). This pilot is prioritizing shelter sites with the highest population of seniors and people with a significant risk of severe outcome as a result of COVID-19. The purpose of the pilot is to test the clinic model and develop a “playbook” for broader future roll-out of the vaccine in the city’s shelter system.
Also, on January 15, University Health Network (UHN) ran a one-day clinic to vaccinate frontline workers at the city’s COVID-19 recovery program for people experiencing homelessness. Just over 130 workers at this site received their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. This site was selected as a priority site for the vaccine due to the direct role staff have in caring for vulnerable people affected by COVID-19 and through its connection to UHN. Both ICHA and UHN helped the city establish this recovery program, the first of its kind in Canada last spring.
“We are making progress now – as part of an all hands on deck effort – to get the vaccine to our most vulnerable residents, Mayor John Tory said. “The City of Toronto continues to roll-out important COVID-19 vaccinations through a coordinated effort with our Vaccine Taskforce, our local hospitals and the province. We are grateful to our dedicated health partners UHN, Unity Health, ICHA and TPH for delivering the first dose to frontline workers and some of the most vulnerable residents of our city. Reducing the spread of COVID-19 is our top priority and we are thankful for the tireless efforts of our staff and partners in fighting this pandemic everyday.”
These vaccination clinics are an important step in further protecting people in the shelter system from COVID-19. The city is continuing to implement significant public health measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the shelter system while vaccine roll-out is underway, including maintaining physical distancing spaces, mandatory mask requirements for clients and staff and the operation of the recovery program for people experiencing homelessness who test positive for COVID-19.