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Toronto launches 'VaxTO' campaign to help with COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Last Updated May 26, 2021 at 8:34 pm EDT

Mayor John Tory announced the launch of the ‘VaxTO’ campaign Wednesday, aimed at connecting Torontonians with vaccine appointments and information.

Tory said the campaign builds on ongoing outreach efforts and “works to proactively ensure that every resident can access their first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by providing them with accurate and timely information about when and how they can do so.”

“I cannot stress enough — if you, like me, want to get on with reopening as soon as possible, then one of the things you have to do is get vaccinated. Or if you know someone in your close circle who hasn’t been, to encourage them to do so,” he said.

The campaign involves the use of texts, emails, voice broadcasts and telephone townhalls as well as social media advertising in a number of different languages.

A dedicated phone number has also been set up for residents looking for information on vaccines, appointment bookings and upcoming telephone town halls. Torontonians can text “vaccine” to 1-833-750-0888 to access those resources. More features will be announced soon.

“This is one more way in which the city can demonstrate that it is doing everything it can to help people get vaccinated and to make sure we reach that level of immunity that is going to help us get back to a normal life,” said Mayor Tory.

The campaign had a soft launch last weekend when 150,000 households in 18 hot spot neighbourhoods received a telephone voice broadcast call from Mayor Tory, encouraging people to book their vaccine appointments during the ‘Long Weekend Dose Drive’ that saw the city open 19,000 additional vaccine appointments.

Tory said hundreds of people who answered the call were helped to book their vaccine appointment directly with the provincial booking system.

VaxTO will be rolled out in three phases and the first one is already underway, encouraging all Torontonians to book their first vaccine dose.

Phase 2 will begin mid-June and target those neighbourhoods that have low first dose vaccine rates. Phase 3 will begin in July and continue to target residents who have not received their first dose and support second dose efforts across the city.

The first event of the campaign will be a city-wide telephone town hall to be held on June 2 at 6 p.m., where residents can ask questions about the vaccine program directly to Mayor Tory, Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health, and Chief Matthew Pegg, General Manager of the Office of Emergency Management.