As COVID-19 cases continued to climb in Canada’s two biggest provinces on Sunday, officials in Ontario and Quebec said there are vacant vaccination appointments that need to be filled.
In Toronto, Mayor John Tory pleaded with those aged 70 and older to get vaccinated.
“We have the vaccines, we have the staff in place to do it and we have the appointments, so all we need now is you,” Tory said.
“It’s very, very important for people across the city of Toronto to get vaccinated.”
The city is set to open three mass vaccination clinics Monday now that the vaccine supply has been fixed, he said
Canada pre-purchased millions of doses of seven different vaccine types, and Health Canada has approved four so far for the various provincial and territorial rollouts. All the drugs are fully effective in preventing serious illness and death, though some may do more than others to stop any symptomatic illness at all (which is where the efficacy rates cited below come in).
- Also known as: Comirnaty
- Approved on: Dec. 9, 2020
- Efficacy rate: 95 per cent with both doses in patients 16 and older, and 100 per cent in 12- to 15-year-olds
- Traits: Must be stored at -70 C, requiring specialized ultracold freezers. It is a new type of mRNA-based vaccine that gives the body a sample of the virus’s DNA to teach immune systems how to fight it. Health Canada has authorized it for use in people as young as 12.
- Also known as: SpikeVax
- Approved on: Dec. 23, 2020
- Efficacy rate: 94 per cent with both doses in patients 18 and older, and 100 per cent in 12- to 17-year-olds
- Traits: Like Pfizer’s vaccine, this one is mRNA-based, but it can be stored at -20 C. It’s approved for use in Canada for ages 12 and up.
- Also known as: Vaxzevria
- Approved on: Feb. 26, 2021
- Efficacy rate: 62 per cent two weeks after the second dose
- Traits: This comes in two versions approved for Canadian use, the kind made in Europe and the same drug made by a different process in India (where it is called Covishield). The National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s latest guidance is that its okay for people 30 and older to get it if they can’t or don’t want to wait for an mRNA vaccine, but to guard against the risk of a rare blood-clotting disorder, all provinces have stopped giving first doses of AstraZeneca.
- Also known as: Janssen
- Approved on: March 5, 2021
- Efficacy rate: 66 per cent two weeks after the single dose
- Traits: Unlike the other vaccines, this one comes in a single injection. NACI says it should be offered to Canadians 30 and older, but Health Canada paused distribution of the drug for now as it investigates inspection concerns at a Maryland facility where the active ingredient was made.
How many vaccine doses do I get?
All vaccines except Johnson & Johnson’s require two doses, though even for double-dose drugs, research suggests the first shots may give fairly strong protection. This has led health agencies to focus on getting first shots to as many people as possible, then delaying boosters by up to four months. To see how many doses your province or territory has administered so far, check our vaccine tracker for the latest numbers.
He said three new COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics will open Monday, but there are still many appointments unfilled.
“We’re now in a position where we have lots of appointments available, even appointments available for this coming week,” Tory said.
“We need you to sign up, not to put it off.”
Ontario reported 2,448 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the fourth consecutive day with more than 2,000 daily cases.
Tory says more than 450,000 people in Toronto have received doses thus far.
“I will say I’m not satisfied, and that doesn’t mean I’m critical or angry with anybody, it just means I’m asking people to take advantage of the opportunity to get vaccinated now and we’ll be satisfied when we have a sold out situation,” Tory said.
Ontario has fully vaccinated 309,285 people and has administered nearly two million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Michael Garron Hospital and the Toronto East Health Network opened up a vaccination standby list for those who are part of the province’s Phase 2 populations.
But the website crashed shortly after it opened up due to high volume, the Toronto East Health Network said.
On Sunday it said it has taken down the site for now due to “an extremely high volume of submissions” while it figures out how to move forward on standby vaccinations.
In Quebec, Minister of Health Christian Dube urged residents to get vaccinated.
“There are still appointments available in the coming days in some regions, especially in Montreal,” he said for those aged 60 years and older.
Quebec has given doses to 76 per cent of those 80 and over, as well as 52 per cent of those 70 years and older and 17 per cent of those aged 60 to 69. The vast majority are first doses, very few have been fully vaccinated.
As of last week, Quebec said about 75 per cent or more of all age groups 65 years and older had either received a vaccine or made an appointment.
The province reported 917 news cases of COVID-19 on Sunday after breaking the 1,000-mark on Saturday for the first time since mid-February.
With files from Morgan Lowrie in Montreal.
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