East Toronto Health Partners unveils plan to support low-barrier access to COVID-19 vaccines in East Toronto

(March 1, 2021) Toronto, ON — East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP), the Ontario Health Team (OHT) serving East Toronto, is preparing for increased supply of COVID-19 vaccines with a COVID-19 Immunization Plan for East Toronto. Developed in consultation with the Ministry of Health and Toronto Public Health (TPH), the Plan includes COVID-19 immunization clinics, mobile vaccination teams and coordination with family physicians to ensure all East Toronto residents have low-barrier access to the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to them. The Plan complements TPH’s and other OHTs’ vaccination plans across the region.

ETHP’s plan highlights two main pillars for increasing access and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to eligible priority populations:

  1. Mobile vaccination teams

  2. COVID-19 immunization clinics

About ETHP’s mobile vaccination teams

ETHP’s mobile vaccination teams aim to reduce barriers for those who may experience challenges accessing a public COVID-19 immunization clinic. This week, ETHP’s mobile vaccination teams will deliver and administer vaccines to the following eligible priority populations:

  • Seniors in congregate care settings such as assisting living

  • Individuals living in shelters or experiencing homelessness

  • Clients of community health centres and family physician offices who are 80 years of age or older

Last week, ETHP rolled out a mobile vaccination pilot with other OHTs at high-risk congregate settings for seniors. In addition, mobile vaccinations continued this past weekend for those aged 80 years or older at South Riverdale Community Health Centre (SRCHC). ETHP will expand mobile vaccination efforts to shelters, seniors’ buildings and supportive housing buildings in East Toronto based on vaccine supply and according to direction from the provincial vaccination plan. ETHP is planning dedicated pop-up vaccination clinics for those aged 80 years or older living independently in the community.

About ETHP’s COVID-19 Immunization Clinics

In addition to mobile vaccination teams for eligible priority populations, ETHP will operate COVID-19 Immunization Clinics at the following sites in East Toronto. These sites will open in stages over the coming weeks and months based on vaccine supply and in alignment with the province and TPH. They join nine other immunization clinics in Toronto recently announced by TPH.

Please note these clinics are not open to the public at this time.

  • Warden Hilltop Community Centre (25 Mendelssohn Street)
    Opening early March for pre-booked appointments for specific eligible priority populations

  • Michael Garron Hospital (825 Coxwell Avenue)
    Opened December 22 for eligible health care workers

  • Thorncliffe Park Community Hub (45 Overlea Boulevard)
    Not yet operational; planning is underway

  • Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre (870 Queen Street East)
    Not yet operational; planning is underway

The province named MGH a vaccination site in December 2020 and the hospital has been immunizing eligible priority populations since Dec. 22. MGH will transition one of its two hospital-based immunization clinics to ETHP’s Warden Hilltop Community Centre so the partnership can provide a higher volume of vaccine appointments to eligible East Toronto residents.

ETHP is working on developing an online pre-registration form for those aged 80 years and older living in East Toronto who would like to express their interest in receiving the vaccine. Individuals who complete this form will be contacted when vaccine supply is available. More information about this form will be shared as soon as it is available.

Eventually, ETHP’s COVID-19 Immunization Clinics will be open to general populations in East Toronto in accordance with vaccine supply and in alignment with the province and TPH. Once eligible, individuals in the general population will be able to book COVID-19 immunization appointments through a centralized booking system being developed by the province.

If you are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine, we kindly ask that you please do not call Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) or ETHP’s COVID-19 immunization clinics as we do not currently have additional information. More information about when vaccines are expected to be available to additional populations can be found on the Ontario government’s website.

Collaboration key to safely and equitably delivering vaccines to East Toronto residents

Other components of ETHP’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan for East Toronto include coordination with family physicians in the East Toronto Family Practice Network (EasT-FPN) to further test a decentralized model of providing the vaccine in physician offices.

ETHP’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan for East Toronto has been developed with the goal of providing approximately 10,000 vaccinations per day based on Ontario’s vaccine supply. The Plan is the result of collaboration between leaders, physicians and staff from more than 50 community, primary care, home care, hospital and social services organizations in East Toronto, as well as patient, family member/caregiver and community member advisors.

Quotes from ETHP leaders

“During the pandemic, we’ve relied on our strong partnerships with our ETHP member organizations to deliver an integrated, community-based response to COVID-19 that considers the needs of our most vulnerable populations,” said Sarah Downey, President and CEO of MGH and a member of ETHP. “We’re thrilled to continue this collaborative work to ensure East Toronto residents can safely, easily and quickly receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to them.”

“Collaborating with all other care providers in our community is key to ensuring the people we serve, particularly seniors and other priority groups, will get rapid access to the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Tia Pham, Lead Physician and President of South East Toronto Family Health Team (SETFHT) and a member of ETHP on behalf of EasT-FPN. “By all working together, and these days meeting many times weekly, we develop and implement actionable strategies that help ensure that vaccines will get into the arms of as many eligible people in East Toronto as fast as possible.”

“Our Immunization Plan is designed based on the needs of our community, providing mobile vaccinations to seniors who are homebound or living in cluster settings,” said Anne Babcock, President and CEO of WoodGreen Community Services and member of ETHP. “We will continue to work hand in hand with our partners from across the health and community sector to provide safe and accessible vaccines to all eligible in the community.”

About East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP)
East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP), the Ontario Health Team (OHT) serving East Toronto, is a group of more than 50 community, primary care, home care, hospital and social services organizations in East Toronto working together to create an integrated system of care across our communities. Collectively, ETHP is responsible for providing care and support to the 300,000 individuals who live in East Toronto communities, as well as an additional 75,000 clients who choose to receive health care in the local area. Clients, family members and caregivers are partners in every aspect of the development of ETHP, working together to improve the way East Toronto residents access and receive care. Visit ethp.ca to learn more.

Media contact
Lucy Lau
ETHP Communications Coordinator
Email: lucy.lau@tehn.ca
Phone: 778-878-5829