The city will be hosting a special COVID-19 vaccine clinic downtown next week that aims to support those with additional accessibility needs.

The clinic, which is being held in partnership with Toronto Public Health, Silent Voice, Balance for Blind Adults, and the Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence, will run from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the city-run vaccine clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Jan. 31.

“The clinic will have supports available for people who may require assistance to get vaccinated. Staff have also received training and resources from Toronto’s Accessibility Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines to provide support at this clinic,” a news release issued by the city read.

Resources will be provided for those who have a fear of needles, need to sit down while waiting, need a quiet place to get vaccinated, need a companion when vaccinated, or need an ASL interpreter.

“The clinic is part of Team Toronto’s ongoing efforts to reduce barriers to vaccination and ensure that all populations, especially those who are most vulnerable, have every opportunity available to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” the news release continued.

Both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines will be available at the clinic and appointments can be booked on the city’s website.

The city is continuing its push to get more residents vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of Monday’s reopening, when gyms, movie theatres, and restaurants in Ontario will once again open at 50 per cent capacity.


City sees decline in unplanned absences in emergency services

Dr. Eileen de Villa said Tuesday there are signs that community transmission is waning after spread of the more infectious Omicron variant caused explosive growth in the province.

“We are seeing some indicators that are telling us that things are getting a little bit better, wastewater surveillance being one of them. We’ve seen some declines over the past few weeks at this point,” she said at a news conference at city hall on Tuesday morning.

“We are seeing the overall number of active confirmed outbreaks in the various settings that exist in the city also starting to tail off.”

Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, who serves as the general manager of Toronto’s Office of Emergency Management, said the city is also seeing a “favourable trend” when it comes to absences involving emergency services personnel.

“Over the past three weeks, our unplanned absence rates in both paramedics services and fire services have continued to decrease each week. In fire services, our operating unplanned absence rate has improved from 9.7 per cent during the week of Dec. 23 to 3.5 per cent to date this week,” he said Tuesday.

“Likewise in paramedic services, our operating unplanned absence rate has improved from 19.3 per cent during the week of Dec. 23 to 7.8 per cent to date this week.”

De Villa said despite positive signs that transmission is on the decline, the health-care system is still struggling to cope with the effects of Omicron.

“To my mind, recognizing that we are a few days away from the loosening of some restrictions, what we have seen has worked in the past few weeks continues to be important,” she said.

“Continue to put all the lessons we’ve learned over the past two years… to good use.”