Why they got the shot: TTC clinic convinces Torontonians to roll up their sleeves after months of waiting

Natalie Byrd gets vaccinated Tuesday at Victoria Park Station pop-up clinic. (Natalie Johnson/CTV News Toronto)

Joe Gomes was riding the TTC when he saw the sign: a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic was operating inside Victoria Park Station.

“I’m thinking now about getting the shot,” he said as he stood in the station mezzanine, watching a handful of other commuters filter in and roll up their sleeves.

Gomes had not yet had any doses, but after taking it all in and chatting with staff he made up his mind: “I’m doing it for sure.”

“If you put theses clinics in the right spot at the right time, people, many for the first time, will come out to get vaccinated,” Toronto Mayor John Tory had said an hour earlier, as the city announced it would be operating up to 200 mini-clinics a week in high-traffic areas like grocery stores, malls, parks, and more.

“A lot of people procrastinate right,” Scott Patterson told CTV News Toronto Tuesday after his getting his second dose at the TTC pop-up. “So the fact that I saw this here, I thought of the convenience, and I’ll just get my vaccine right?”

“Everything is feeling good!” Severino Oquendo echoed. His adult son had taken him for his second dose ahead of a November trip to the Philippines.

“Accessibility is super important, right,” said Oquendo’s son Leslie. “So the fact that we can have people on the way to work, or after work, take a vaccine, I think that’s super important.”

“I know it can seem hard to believe that some people who want a shot still haven’t gotten one, but that’s exactly what we’re seeing,” Board of Health Chair Joe Cressy said Tuesday. “For many Torontonians, the issue remains access and not opposition to vaccines.”

For Natalie Byrd though, the decision to get vaccinated was months in the making.

“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, a lot of things going through my head,” she explained.

But after hearing about the subway-line clinic, she thought it was the right fit—the right time for her shot.

She barely felt the needle, she said, and would now encourage anyone hesitating to seek out a shot. The TTC pop-up, she said, was quick, convenient, and easy.

“There’s a lot of traffic that goes through the system, and so they might think twice and just say—‘let me just go and get it.’”