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Toronto ‘immediately’ pausing COVID-19 immunization clinic due to vaccine shortage

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The City of Toronto says it has been ordered to “immediately” pause its COVID-19 immunization clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre due to a lack of vaccines.

The clinic, which began inoculations on Monday, was originally supposed to operate as a pilot project for six to eight weeks with doses, at least initially, being given to a select group of health-care workers.

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On Monday, officials announced that the proof-of-concept clinic was only going to operate until the end of day Friday due to a lack of vaccines, and that has now been shortened further to just two days.

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“Due to further COVID-19 vaccine supply shortages announced by the Government of Canada today, the Province of Ontario has directed the City of Toronto to immediately pause its proof-of-concept immunization clinic,” a news release from the city said.

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Municipal staff also announced eight health-care workers who weren’t part of the initial targeted group received vaccines booked appointments through the City of Toronto’s website. City spokesperson Brad Ross said staff took action to make sure those who were vaccinated on Tuesday met the initial criteria.

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“Important to note that this is a proof-of-concept, which is designed to, in part, find issues that we can work out before opening clinics more broadly. This is one such issue we have now corrected,” he told Global News in a statement Tuesday evening.

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On Tuesday, the federal government announced that Canada will receive no new Pfizer vaccines next week due to ongoing production issues in Europe.

Delays in delivery were previously announced by Pfizer, though there had still been the expectation that some doses would be shipped to Canada next week.

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Officials said people with appointments at the convention centre clinic for Wednesday and beyond are being advised that their appointments are cancelled.

“The City’s Immunization Task Force is continuing to plan for city-wide immunization clinic roll-out and will continue to work with the province to determine next steps once vaccine supply is re-established,” the city news release read.

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.

— With files from Nick Westoll

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