Peel Region is speeding up its vaccination drive with the opening of its 32-hour marathon clinic in Mississauga this weekend.

The 'Doses After Dark' clinic located at The International Centre, in the area of Derry Road East and Airport Road, opened its doors at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and will run until 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Dr. Lawrence Loh, the medical officer of health for Peel Region, said he hopes this weekend's immunization campaign will further push the region near its target of 75 per cent of adults with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

"We're really targeting both to the 18 to 48 demographic that opened up in Peel, trying to make it fun for the young folks and going into the night as well. But we also know there's a lot of shift workers, a lot of people who can't work from home, and so we're trying to see if there is uptake on the overnight hours," said Loh.

More than 7,600 appointments were made available for the clinic. Loh noted Saturday afternoon that there are still slots open, especially between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. (To book an appointment, click here.)

"Now's the time to be part of something that's really exciting," Loh said.

When asked if the region will host another marathon clinic in the future, the doctor said it will depend on whether this weekend will be a success.

"If there's uptake on overnights, we'll be we'll be looking to include that in our planning in the future," Loh said.

More than 778,000 doses have been administered in Peel Region to date.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Abdu Sharkawy is one of the health-care workers participating in the clinic. He said it is a fun and unique challenge.

"It's so heartening. And I can tell you for sure that this is near the top of my highlights as a frontline worker over the last year and change. The amount of hope, the amount of optimism that I feel today, between myself and a whole community of people who are coming together," Sharkawy said.

"We're really feeling like they're being acknowledged that they're being given a chance to protect themselves."

Sharkawy said he has met many essential workers throughout the day who were excited to get their shots.

"It's incredible to know that I can talk to them on a first-name basis, to hear the sense of relief, to hear that sense of hope, to hear that sense of acknowledgement, and to be able to deliver a vaccine into their arms," he said.

"I can't describe the feeling that I get from that and the fulfillment that I get from being able to share that moment with them."

Sharkawy said there should be more overnight vaccine clinics to give more options for essential workers who don't have the choice to take time off to get their shots.

"The fact that we're here into the wee hours of the night, this is us saying you matter. We're going to do it. We'll do whatever we need to take care of you without you having to worry about compromising your job, whatever you do to take care of your family. We're here for you, and frankly, we need to do that more often," he said.

"We need to give people the options and the flexibility to know that they don't have to make a decision between their own safety and their job taking care of their family. And this is a perfect starter."