GTA vaccine supply in question as province opens eligibility to 18 years and older

Greater Toronto and Hamilton area officials are calling on the province to continue streamlining vaccines to hot spot areas after the province announced that eligibility would open to anyone 18 years of age or older beginning on Tuesday, May 18.

A joint statement released by mayors and chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the GTHA welcomes the news of the increased eligibility, but says they will need “additional supply of vaccines from the provincial and federal governments if [they] are to be able to meet the increased demand for appointments.”

Starting this week, the province is set to change how they’re distributing vaccines among public health units. For the past two weeks, 50 per cent of the provincial vaccine supply was being directed to 114 hot spot areas. Now, vaccines are to be distributed to public health units on a per capita basis.

While speaking Monday, Toronto Mayor John Tory expressed concern over whether Toronto’s vaccine supply could keep up with incoming demand, stating that city immunization clinics are already almost fully booked for the next few weeks.

“I think it’s fairly clear that the capacity in terms of vaccine availability [..] will likely not match the number of people seeking to get a vaccination,” said Tory.

“We are working now with the province to secure additional vaccine supply, so that we can open up more appointments to meet the increased demand in the coming weeks,” said the mayor.

Despite potential difficulties, Mayor Tory is still urging residents to try all avenues to book their vaccine appointment.

“I know it isn't easy. I encourage residents who are newly eligible tomorrow to look at every option,” said Tory, “You can seek an appointment at a city run clinic, [..] you can seek an appointment at a hospital or hospital-run clinic, and you can find increased numbers of pharmacies offering appointments throughout the province.”