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Mayors, regional chairs want vaccine focus on Toronto, Hamilton

Toronto, Hamilton areas are among Canada's hardest-hit hot spots
March 30, 2021
Bryan Passifiume

Ongoing COVID-19 vaccine programs should target areas hardest-hit by the pandemic, say municipal leaders in the Toronto and Hamilton area.

A statement from Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) mayors and chairs on Monday called on Ottawa and the provincial government to prioritize vaccine rollouts to hot spots facing larger and growing case counts, which includes the GTA and Hamilton.

“An objective examination of the numbers indicated the GTHA is a COVID hot spot,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory during a Monday afternoon press conference.

“We were unanimous in asking that be taken into account in vaccine allocations alongside other hot spots in the country.”

The statement also called upon both levels of government to maintain an increased and more reliable supply of vaccines, which Tory said is the best way back to a more normal way of life.

“The sooner we’re all vaccinated, the sooner this pandemic will be over,” Tory said.

As of Monday, vaccine eligibility was expanded to include those 70 and up across Ontario.

Over the weekend, more than 19,000 people booked online vaccination appointments at city-run clinics, said Toronto Emergency Management Chief Matthew Pegg.

While bookings continued, Pegg said that as of 1 p.m. Monday, there were still over 7,000 available vaccination appointments for this week.

Toronto also opened two more city-run mass vaccination clinics on Monday -- one at the Malvern Community Recreation Centre in Scarborough and another inside the Mitchell Field Arena in Willowdale.

“The uptake in both of these community centre-based clinics has been extremely positive,” Pegg said.

Appointments at Malvern are completely booked until Thursday, while the Mitchell Field clinic has no free appointments available earlier than next Wednesday, he said.

Most patients are in and out of the clinic within 30 minutes, he added.

Vaccinations are by appointment only and clinics cannot accept walk-ins. Information on how to book can be found at

Toronto saw 670 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, with 302 people in hospital and 53 receiving intensive care.