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Boost in Moderna vaccine supply lets Toronto open 30,000 new appointments
June 16, 2021
David Rider

As shipments of COVID-19 vaccines surge along with demand for second doses, Toronto is opening 30,000 appointments for eligible adults.

The June 22-27 slots at city-run clinics become available in the provincial booking system at 8 a.m. Wednesday. The bookings will be for Moderna vaccine, rather than the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine used in city clinics to date.

Moderna is safe for a second dose, experts say, for those who got a first dose of Moderna, Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine.

Only people aged 18 and over can get Moderna. Otherwise eligibility is anyone who received Pfizer or Moderna on or before May 9, or received AstraZeneca eight or more weeks ago.

Appointments at City-run clinics can be booked through the dark blue “Book a Vaccine” button at or by calling the provincial vaccine booking line at 1-833-943-3900.

“The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are incredibly similar with near identical efficacy rates,” the city says in a news release.

“A ‘mixed mRNA model’ -- mixing Pfizer and Moderna for first and second dose -- is approved by both the federal and provincial governments ...

“Getting a second dose of vaccine -- any of the Health Canada approved vaccines -- is critical to stopping the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, protecting vulnerable people in the community and staying on track in reopening.”

People booking, the city says, “should be aware that almost all available appointments as of (Wednesday) will be for Moderna doses.”

Past Moderna stocks for Toronto were used in hospital immunization clinics.

The additional 30,000 appointments are possible because of a larger-than-expected Moderna delivery arriving this week. Another 71,000 doses will go to hospitals and pop-up clinics in neighbourhoods hit hard by COVID-19.

“With the Delta (COVID-19) variant circulating in our community, getting Toronto fully vaccinated is a key strategy to protect individual and community health,” said public health chief Dr. Eileen de Villa in a statement.

“Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are fully interchangeable, safe and both are highly effective. If you are able to move up your second dose appointment -- and Moderna is offered -- please seize the opportunity.”

On Monday 60,000 new Pfizer appointments for city clinics were quickly snapped up, with 99 per cent gone by noon. Long lineups formed Tuesday at local health-partner clinics offering vaccine to people without appointments.

Torontonians eager to become fully vaccinated reported on social media booking appointments as far away as Hamilton, Cayuga and Barrie.

The vaccine frenzy, after months of a tight lockdown that is finally easing, comes with summer looming and the end of the pandemic, apparently, in sight.

It’s paying off. By last Sunday 20 per cent of adult Torontonians were fully vaccinated, up from 4.5 per cent only three weeks ago. De Villa says one-quarter of Torontonians will have received two doses by next week.

Second doses are now outnumbering first doses administered in Toronto by almost three to one. The first-dose vaccination rate has slowed considerably.

City officials say they are working hard to reach the 26 per cent of Torontonians who remain completely unvaccinated, through a variety of community-based programs.

They are also calling on the Premier Doug Ford government to boost vaccine supplies for communities with COVID-19 hot spots, including Toronto and Peel, to ensure people most at risk from the highly contagious Delta virus variant are fully protected as soon as possible.

“The Team Toronto effort is directing a large portion of the city’s current supply to hot spots right now,” said city spokesperson Brad Ross, “and we continue to advocate for additional vaccine supply for hot spots as part of the Sprint Strategy 2.0 and to use additional capacity in City immunization clinics.

“The 30,000 doses of Moderna are part of a planned shipment … that the city will be receiving later this week.”