Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) will be hosting a number of COVID-19 vaccination clinics catering to the Black community in an effort to address vaccine hesitancy.

The centre will be holding three clinics which will focus on supporting patients, staff, family and friends who identify as Black, but will also be open for anyone to attend.

CAMH is organizing the clinics in partnership with the Black Physicians Association of Ontario who will have volunteers on hand to answer questions, provide information and administer vaccinations.

“They have an amazing approach when it comes to vaccination where they are listening first, they educate, they advocate and then they'll get around to vaccination,” Dionne Sinclair, vice president, clinical care and chief nurse executive at CAMH told CP24 on Friday.

The first clinic will be on Saturday. Dates and times for the clinics are below:

  • Saturday, October 9: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 13: 3 to 8 p.m.
  • Friday, October 15: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The clinics will be held at the Bell Gateway Building inside the Sandi & Jim Treliving Gym, located 100 Stokes Street.

Vaccine hesitancy among the Black community has been an ongoing issue amid the pandemic.

Black Canadians were far less likely to report getting their first COVID-19 vaccine shot and more likely to express hesitation about the vaccine compared to white Canadians, according to an online survey conducted in the summer.

Hesitancy among Black community members is particularly concerning as data shows that last year they were disproportionately represented in the number of COVID-19 cases in Toronto, relative to their population size within the city.

Although vaccines have been available in Canada for almost a year, Sinclair says she continues to hear from members of the Black community about concerns with the vaccines and long-term effects.

“People are saying, ‘Oh, they got the vaccine too fast, maybe they did short cuts when they were doing their trials.’ So the physicians will be able to answer those questions and really explain how the vaccine came about,” she said.

Sinclair says the clinics will also provide blood pressure and sugar checks, and answer any questions patients have.

Music, food and giveaways will also be provided.

Those interested in attending can walk in or book an appointment by visiting CAMH’s website.