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Toronto's new 'Vax and Read' campaign brings COVID-19 vaccination clinics to libraries

Campaign will run for 2 weeks at 12 Toronto Public Library branches
March 3, 2022

If you still need a COVID-19 vaccine and wouldn't mind borrowing a book in the process, you're in luck.

The City of Toronto launched Wednesday a new campaign that see vaccine clinics set up at libraries across the city.

Mayor John Tory says the new campaign -- dubbed Vax And Read -- is set to start Wednesday and will run for two weeks at 12 Toronto Public Library branches.

It's part of the city's hyper-local mobile strategy aimed at bringing shots to areas with low vaccination coverage, as well as to residents who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19.

The clinics will operate on a walk-in basis -- no appointments are required.

"I urge all of those eligible who have not yet had their first, second, third or pediatric dose to visit their local library and do so," Tory said in a news release issued Wednesday.

A full list of clinic locations and hours can be found here on the city's website.

This comes as the city says it's shifting its overall vaccine efforts to focus on getting booster doses to older residents, specifically those 50 and older.

As part of those efforts, the city says close to 40,000 people living in 13 Toronto neighbourhoods will be contacted by phone through the VaxTO centre, which Tory and Board of Health Chair Joe Cressy likened to a get-out-the-vote campaign.

"Now, more than ever, it is important that we continue to follow our evidence-based approach to ensure the most vulnerable are protected," Tory said.

"Using outreach methods such as live callers, gives us the opportunity to speak directly with Torontonians ... and remove any remaining barriers to vaccination."

The city also says it's distributing $4.5 million in grants to support what it calls "equitable" vaccine engagement, adding that its teams have already connected with more than 1.5 million community members through various health, community and faith-based organizations.

That work has resulted in increased vaccine "confidence, access and uptake" among diverse communities across Toronto, the city says.

The grant funding, which will be in place through July 1, will go toward outreach activities in neighbourhoods and communities that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.