Education and child care workers will be prioritized for booster shots at 10 vaccine clinics in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), the province announced on the weekend.
The additional clinics, located in Toronto – Yonge Street – Midtown, Eaton Centre, Richmond Hill, Mississauga, Vaughan, Pickering, Hamilton, Oakville and Brampton will serve education and child care staff in the GTHA during dedicated time slots.
The clinics will administer booster doses and will operate seven days a week by appointment, said Education Minister Stephen Lecce.
One of the ten vaccination clinics will be situated inside the Toronto Zoo and operate seven days a week, offering dedicated time slots for education and child care staff between 4 to 10 p.m., Monday to Friday, and on weekends throughout the day.
Eligible staff can book an appointment at one of these ten locations.
“A third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine offers additional protection against the Omicron variant, and we continue to urge everyone to get their booster dose as soon as possible,” added Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, who joined Lecce at the announcement.
The province says it is continuing to work with all public health units (PHUs) to explore additional opportunities to provide access to booster doses for education and child care staff across all regions of the province. Local PHUs will continue to provide information on how vaccines can be accessed in their communities.
The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health also stated that they are working together to make more rapid-antigen tests available to support the ongoing operations of child-care centres and schools when they return to in-person learning.
The province previously announced that schools would resume in-person learning on January 17. However a couple of days later, Premier Doug Ford said later that he is concerned about the impact of Omicron on staff absences.
Pediatrician groups have been calling on the provincial government to open schools no later than the scheduled date. In an open letter to Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce, the Canadian Paediatric Society, the Pediatrics Section of the Ontario Medical Association and the Pediatricians Alliance of Ontario said “certain decisions and measures pose a far greater risk to children and youth than the virus itself”.