While thousands of Ontario seniors 80 years of age and older were recently inoculated against COVID-19, many have not yet received their first vaccine dose.
Peel and York Regions launched their own online portals two weeks ahead of the provincial government’s website.
Online booking for appointments in York opened at 8 a.m. on Monday. Within an hour and a half, all 20,000 available spots had been claimed.
The region announced late Wednesday evening it would be opening an additional 2,000 appointments.
In Peel, public health is working in collaboration with Trillium Health Partners and William Osler Health System to provide the shots for eligible residents.
Meanwhile, in Canada’s largest city, officials continue to wait for a badly needed boost to its vaccine rollout.
“We are vaccine availability limited,” said Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg.
Pegg, who is the general manager of Toronto’s Office of Emergency Management, faced several questions about when residents in that age group would be able to receive vaccinations at city-run sites.
“There are a number of hospitals and there are a number of health care partners who are moving forward, and who are vaccinating a number of people, and residents who are over the age of 80, from the supply of vaccine that they have,” he said during a news conference on Wednesday.
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Michael Garron Hospital and North York General Hospital are all offering pre-registration. Their portals were also launched in advance of the provincial government site.
When asked on Monday during a news conference about why Toronto was unable to launch its own targeted vaccination effort, Dr. Eileen de Villa pointed to the considerable number of people required to be inoculated under the provincial prioritization framework.
“We have roughly, I believe, about 100,000 people working within the health-care system here, and that just doesn’t exist in other jurisdictions,” she said.
“That’s just one example of the scale or the size and scope of the vaccination campaign that we need to undertake here in Toronto that differentiates us from other jurisdictions.”
Global News reached out to the Ministry of Health for comment on Wednesday afternoon, and did not receive a response in time for publication.
As of the week of February 22, Toronto received 137,670 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 57,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
Toronto Public Health says this was enough to cover 97,685 people as part of the two-dose regimen. The estimated number of people to be vaccinated in phase one is 325,000.
Public Health officials in Peel Region tell Global News as of the end of last month, 65,000 doses have been received across sites that obtain doses directly from province.
Nearly 52,000 doses have been administered to those eligible to receive one.