Peel to close mass vaccination clinic at International Centre as it shifts resources towards 'targeted outreach'

A 32-hour vaccine clinic is operating at The International Centre in Mississauga.

Peel Public Health will close a mass vaccination clinic at the International Centre later this month as it begins to shift resources to focus on its hardest to reach residents.

The clinic has administered more than 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine since first opening in March but will close as of July 26.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said during a briefing on Thursday that the closure will allow Peel Public Health to put more resources into getting “our hardest to reach residents vaccinated” through things like pop up clinics and the “continued vaccination of homebound residents.”

She said that it is all part of a wider shift that will also see the hours of operations and appointment availability adjusted at Peel’s six remaining mass vaccination clinics “over the coming months.”

“This is a good news story. It means that the mass vaccination clinics have done their primary job of getting the majority of our residents vaccinated,” she said. “But I want to be very clear: this doesn't mean that we're taking our foot off the gas. We are continuing to push forward to reach our goal of getting 75 per cent of our residents fully vaccinated. We need to keep pushing because the more people we get vaccinated, the less likely we will see a sudden reversal in our fortunes.”

Approximately 152,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered in Peel Region this week and more than 55 per cent of adult residents are now fully vaccinated.

The region, however, has now reached a point where supply is exceeding demand with thousands of appointments still available for this week at its mass vaccination clinics.

Speaking with reporters during the Mississauga briefing, Peel’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh said that residents can expect to see a transition of the mass vaccination program “towards more targeted community outreach” in the coming months as public health increasingly targets the approximately 21 per cent of adult residents who still have not received their first dose.

He said that some clinics will also start administering the Pfizer vaccine exclusively on certain days “to ensure that those who are delaying protection on the basis of brand and not science can access protection.”

This comes amid reports of some individuals walking out of mass vaccination clinics after being informed that they would receive another mRNA vaccine.

“Tomorrow, we will launch our first Pfizer Friday at all of our mass clinics. This will be by appointment only and no walk-ins will be allowed. I want to be very clear that this is in supporting brand as opposed to science,” Loh said. “We will announced special dose days when supply permits us to do so. Otherwise, I encourage everyone to remember that the products are equivalent.”