The City of Toronto is now prioritizing 18 Delta hot spot postal codes for first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
Mayor John Tory said starting Thursday, the Team Toronto Spring Strategy 2.0 mobile and pop-up clinics will be refocusing efforts in areas where there are high incidents of the COVID-19 Delta variant and low vaccine coverage.
“We are continuing to follow the public health data and expert advice to make sure we are doing everything we can to get vaccine doses to where it will make the biggest difference in our fight against COVID-19 and the Delta variant,” Tory said in a release.
“We launched the Sprint Strategy to focus on our hottest hot spots and it made a tremendous difference that has allowed us to move forward with reopening. The Team Toronto Sprint Strategy 2.0 will continue that success and make sure we continue to get first and now second doses to people in the areas that will benefit from increased vaccine protection the most and help us bring this pandemic to an end.”
All adults in 18 postal codes, who have yet to receive a first dose of vaccine, will be encouraged to get one. All other individuals who live, work, or go to school in those neighbourhoods, who have received a first dose, will be able to get their second shot at the appropriate minimum interval.
The city says the Delta variant of COVID-19 is more infectious than other strains of the virus, including the B.1.1.7 variant which was the main cause of Toronto’s third wave.
“With the Delta variant circulating in the city, Team Toronto is making every effort to increase first and second dose vaccination coverage in the neighbourhoods that have been hardest hit by COVID-19,” Toronto’s medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa, explained.
“By protecting the most vulnerable, we protect Toronto as a whole. By decreasing barriers and bringing vaccines to the people most at risk, we protect the lives and communities disproportionately affecting by this pandemic.”
Spring Strategy 2.0 begins the same day the province announced an accelerated second vaccine dose timeline for Delta COVID-19 variant hotspots.
Board of Health Chair Joe Cressy said the move by the province is the “right thing to do.”
“Scaling up the vaccine rollout in hot spot areas played a significant role in helping us to stem the tide of the third wave back in May,” he explained in a statment.
“With the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant, it’s more important than ever that we get people in at-risk areas fully vaccinated, with both doses of vaccine, as soon as possible … . By targeting hot spots areas for accelerated vaccinations, we’re also helping to make a gradual re-opening of our communities possible.”
The Spring Strategy 2.0 will focus on the following postal codes: