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8 'ineligible' health-care workers mistakenly vaccinated at Toronto convention centre, city says

Last Updated Jan 20, 2021 at 3:06 pm EST

The City of Toronto says eight low-priority health-care workers were mistakenly given a COVID-19 vaccine at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre this week.

In an email to 680 NEWS, City spokesperson Brad Ross says officials first became aware on Sunday that a group of ineligible people were able to register after the link to book vaccine appointments was “erroneously shared.”

“On Monday, 240 were vaccinated, eight health-care workers were vaccinated who were ineligible for this clinic, and approximately 60 walk-ins were turned away,” Ross said.

Ross added on Tuesday, “138 people were vaccinated, 42 ineligible registrants were turned away, and eight walk-ins were turned away. No ineligible people were vaccinated on Tuesday.”

Ross says that on Tuesday morning, the city sent emails to everyone that had registered to advise them of the criteria that only city staff, or those working for agencies that represent frontline shelters – including harm-reduction and Streets to Homes staff – are eligible to receive a vaccine.

If deemed ineligible, their appointment would be cancelled.

The mayor confirming the slip-up, saying lessons have already been learned.

“I think it was very well handled, it was just a problem that arose,” John Tory said. “We knew there would be problems and that’s why we were having a proof of concept clinic as oppose to opening them all up when millions of people are going to be coming in groups to be vaccinated.”

Tory describes them as people who heard that the clinic was open but didn’t understand that it was not for the general public.

“The initial proof-of-concept operations have been very successful and we are now hard at work on the development of the clinic operations playbook,” Toronto fire chief Matthew Pegg said.

“We look forward to getting this and other COVID-19 immunization clinics up and running as soon as vaccine supply permits.”

On Tuesday, the city announced it was immediately shutting down its immunization clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre due to a vaccine shortage.

The “proof-of-concept” clinic was supposed to be scheduled for at least six weeks, seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and was initially expected to operate until the end of the week.

Ross says prior to its forced closure, a total of 378 people were vaccinated.

The immunization clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre was the first “proof of concept” facility outside of a hospital setting in Ontario.