Friday, December 2, 2022
Home Covid-19 ‘Nice that you have somewhere close by’: Toronto libraries host COVID vaccine...

‘Nice that you have somewhere close by’: Toronto libraries host COVID vaccine clinics

TORONTO — Ege Kok had been searching for weeks for somewhere in her north Toronto neighbourhood where she could easily get a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

She’d received her second dose last summer but found it tough to secure a third when the province made them available for all Ontarians in late December.

This week, while scouring the internet for pop-up clinics, she learned of a walk-in site opening at a local library branch just a 10-minute bus ride away from her home.

Read more:

Vax And Read campaign to bring COVID-19 vaccines to Toronto Public Library branches

By Thursday afternoon, both 31-year-old Kok and her mother were able to get their boosters in the library’s glass-walled conference room where half a dozen vaccine stations had been set up.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s nice that you have somewhere close by, you don’t have to go downtown. I just feel lucky. Finally I got it,” Kok said in an interview at the Maria A. Shchuka Library.

The library clinic is part of the City of Toronto’s new “Vax and Read” campaign that launched this week as part of a hyper-local strategy to target areas with low vaccine uptake.

Twelve public libraries will host walk-in vaccine clinics on various days until March 16.

Read more:

Toronto announces major public events, festivals to proceed for spring and summer 2022

Kok, a retail worker, said she was glad to see a library clinic in her densely populated neighbourhood, which hosts many immigrant households.

“I feel like (the neighbourhood) has that stigma to it, so it’s not really cared (about). People don’t think ‘oh let’s have a clinic,”’ Kok said.

Alison Harris, senior branch head at the location where Kok got her booster, said residents in the neighbourhood have experienced unique challenges gaining access to vaccines and the library offers an easily accessible site.

“We have a lot of lower-income people, so because they are working different shifts, they don’t have that opportunity to get out to the general city-run clinics,” said Harris. “When they come into a library, it’s a familiar space for them.”

Story continues below advertisement

Part of the importance of offering vaccines in a dedicated familiar space for certain neighbourhoods relates to what public health and physicians learned during the pandemic, said Dr. Alia Dharamsi, a physician with the University Health Network who was administering shots at the library.

Click to play video: 'City of Toronto to welcome back all outdoor major events, festivals'

City of Toronto to welcome back all outdoor major events, festivals

City of Toronto to welcome back all outdoor major events, festivals

“One of the things we really learned through COVID-19 is some of the inequality around the city,” said Dharamsi.

“We know that if you work evenings or nights, or you work long days, or you don’t have access to a car, or transit is difficult (or) you have accessibility challenges, if we can come to you in your home, in your community centre, in an arena, in a library, if we can come to where you are, it makes it a lot easier.”

The “Vax And Read” pop-up clinics will operate on a walk-in basis with no registration or appointment necessary.

Story continues below advertisement

The City of Toronto said the sites will have both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and will offer first, second, third and pediatric doses.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Most Popular

Police seek to identify man after suspicious incident reported at Toronto school

Police are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a man wanted in connection with a suspicious incident in Toronto. Toronto police said on Nov. 29,...

Police warn about release of convicted sex offender expected to live in Winnipeg

Police are warning the public about a convicted sex offender considered a high risk to reoffend expected to live in Winnipeg following a nearly...

Montreal’s suburbs ‘disgusted’ with municipal budget

Montreal’s demerged city mayors say they are once again facing an increase in taxes and must pay for services they aren’t necessarily getting. The 15...

Beck Taxi suing City of Toronto, says the City allows ‘untrained commercial drivers to fill our streets’

Beck Taxi says it is suing the City of Toronto, claiming the City has allowed “thousands of untrained commercial drivers to fill our streets”...