Toronto’s first COVID-19 vaccination clinic in a community setting will be suspending operations after just five days due to supply issues, officials said Monday.
The clinic, located at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, was scheduled to operate as a pilot project for six to eight weeks.
“We were all disappointed to learn that the delivery of Pfizer vaccine to Canada is expected to be delayed as a result of manufacturing delays in Europe,” said Matthew Pegg, Toronto’s general manager of emergency management.
“As a result, we have now been advised by the province that we will only be able to operate this proof-of-concept clinic for an initial five days due to the lack of availability of COVID-19 vaccine.”
Pegg said new inoculations at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre site will be paused at the end of day Friday. Anyone with an appointment scheduled beyond Friday will have it cancelled until further notice, though second required doses will still be administered to those who got their first shot.
Pegg said operations will resume as soon as possible.
The site only began operating on Monday, after Premier Doug Ford, Mayor John Tory and other officials toured the facility on Sunday.
It has an initial goal, based on vaccine supply, to administer 250 vaccines per day to a select group of health-care workers. Pegg said that is 10 per cent of the facility’s clinical capacity.
The City had been planning to provide a “thoroughly evaluated” playbook for setting up vaccination clinics outside of health-care settings for municipal and provincial officials, after several weeks of operations at the convention centre.
Pegg said given the delays, discussions will be ongoing with local and provincial officials to determine whether or not the information gained from five days of operating will be enough for a playbook, or whether it will be necessary to wait to resume vaccinations.
“We’re certainly going to do our very best,” Pegg said.
“The fact that we learned today that we are going to have to pause only after the first week is very disappointing to all of us … That being said, we are learning every minute and we’ll continue to learn every minute of every day that we’re operating the clinic.”
In a news release Sunday, the City said only the Moderna vaccine would initially be administered at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre site due to the Pfizer supply issues. However, those doses are being reallocated to other areas.