EXCLUSIVE: Eight people vaccinated at Toronto clinic should not have received their shots


A private online pilot project to vaccinate certain health care workers at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre was "erroneously shared" and shut down, with the City of Toronto confirming eight people received their initial first dose when they should not have, ahead of others on a priority list.

On Monday, Fire Chief Matthew Pegg said the city learned of potential issues for registration for the clinic the previous day, "including some registering who may not fall in the prioritization framework." 

The pilot project, set up by the city, was designed as a private online link for certain workers to sign up, such as those supporting long-term care residents. 

One of the organizations that became aware of the site was the Ontario Dental Association, which reached out to the ministry of health about its authenticity. 

The ODA sent a bulletin to members on Tuesday after confirming the site was real.​

"A link to the site was erroneously shared beyond the eligible group without authorization," the note said. "The site was not meant to be accessed by dentists, nor many other community-based health care workers who also tried to access the site." 

The link has been taken down and city spokesperson Brad Ross said eight health care workers received initial doses when they should not have on Monday. 

Ross said before the clinic opened on Tuesday, the city sent a mass e-mail to remind all those who were registered of the criteria and if they didn't meet it, they wouldn't receive a vaccine. 

He said they were able to identify six people who arrived who did not meet that criteria and were turned away. 

"Yes, eight people were vaccinated ahead of perhaps some others, but those are eight people who have now been vaccinated and are health care workers and who won't have to be vaccinated later," he said. "This isn't about perfection, this is a proof of concept, this is where we learn these things and we're grateful that the number was small."

The centre was shut down on Tuesday by the province after news that next week's delivery of Pfizer doses had been deferred, with Ross pointing out the registration issue had nothing to do with the closure. 

It was Toronto's first mass-scale city-run vaccination facility and was supposed to serve as a blueprint for larger sites once supply increased and more facilities opened. 

The site's original schedule was supposed to be six weeks, with 250 first doses administered the first three weeks, followed by the second doses the three weeks after. ​