Toronto is hoping to boost the number of children who have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by hosting a one-day mass vaccination clinic for children at Scotiabank Arena in December.
The clinic is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 12 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The city said 2,000 appointments will be available for children aged five to 11. There will be giveaways, music and entertainment throughout the day, the city added.
In a video released on Monday, Mayor John Tory promoted what is being called “Toronto Kids Vaccine Day.” He appeared in front of the Scotiabank Arena with the Toronto Raptor and Carlton the Bear mascots, saying the clinic will have a super hero theme.
“Be a super hero in the home of some of Toronto’s favourite sports teams,” Tory said in the video.
In a news release on Monday, the city said doctors and nurses from Toronto Public Health and Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) will talk to children and their caregivers about why the vaccine is important and how the vaccination process works.
“These doctors and nurses are experts in speaking with children and caregivers about vaccines as well as providing child-friendly experiences for vaccination,” the city said.
SickKids, the University Health Network, Michael Garron Hospital and Toronto Public Health are all involved in the clinic, which is being organized with the help of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) and Scotiabank.
68,722 children aged 5 to 11 have received 1st dose
Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, announced that as of Monday morning, the province had administered first doses of COVID-19 vaccine to 68,722 children, aged five to 11, or 6.4 per cent of this age group.
“I hope that volume of individuals continues so they are best protected going into the holiday times, when we can anticipate seeing more cases,” Moore told reporters.
“The good news in all of this is that the impact on our hospital system is manageable at this point. We have intensive care unit capacity. We’re watching those numbers like a hawk.”
In the news release, the city sought to reassure parents and caregivers about the safety of COVID-19 vaccination.
“The COVID-19 vaccine has been proven safe and highly effective to protect children between the ages of five and 11 years old from contracting COVID-19. Vaccination also lowers the risk of severe disease or hospitalization,” the city said.
“High levels of vaccination will also help prevent transmission of COVID-19 in households and schools, and preserve in-person learning and activities as people move indoors during the colder months.”
Public health urges parents to get kids vaccinated
Toronto Public Health, for its part, urged parents to ensure their children get vaccinated when they are eligible to do so in a bid to help protect children, families, schools and communities.
Dr. Ronald Cohn, President and CEO, SickKids, said in the release that the hospital is “thrilled” to take part.
“Vaccinating your child against COVID-19 is an important way to help ensure their health and well-being. The COVID-19 vaccine approved by Health Canada for this age group is safe and effective. We hope this event encourages Torontonians to help us reach our next vaccine milestones in the fight against COVID-19,” Cohn said.
The city said parents and caregivers can make appointments for children by calling the provincial vaccine booking line at 1-833-943-3900. They can also go to the city’s COVID-19: How to Get Vaccinated webpage. Children must be turning five years old by the end of 2021 (born in 2016) to be eligible for an appointment.
On June 27, the city hosted Toronto Vaccine Day at Scotiabank Arena, administering more than 26,000 doses, and it surpassed the North American record of 17,003 doses by one clinic in a single day.