The city is opening up 40,000 new vaccination appointments for third doses at its immunization clinics after the province expanded eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots.

Eligible Torontonians can start booking their third-dose appointments on Saturday at 8 a.m. at The new slots are for the next two weeks and will be offered at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Cloverdale Mall, Scarborough Town Centre, Woodbine Mall and Mitchell Field Arena.

"We need to move back to an appointment-based system because we're expecting renewed demand at our clinics, and we want people to be able to plan," Mayor John Tory said.

The new third-dose appointments come hours after the Ontario government announced that it is expanding third-dose eligibility to more groups, including all Indigenous Ontarians, health-care workers and everyone 70 years and older.

The city estimates that 65,000 Torontonians will be eligible for their third dose as of Saturday, adding that 26,000 people in the city have already received their booster shot.

"I want to stress that two doses of COVID-19 vaccine still provide strong protection against contracting COVID-19 and against serious outcomes associated with the virus. If you are eligible for your third dose, there are many options available for you. I would encourage you to get your vaccine to the channel that makes the best sense for you," Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said. She noted that eligible residents could also get their third dose at hospitals they are affiliated with and at more than 450 pharmacies across the city.

"If you're eligible for your first or second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, it's even more important that you start and complete your vaccination series as soon as possible."

De Villa said that people who will be getting their third dose at city clinics will also be offered a flu shot if they have not gotten it yet.

"The influenza vaccine is particularly important this year, given that there wasn't much influenza last year, and there is the potential for significant impact of influenza," de Villa said.

"We know that in previous years, influenza has wreaked havoc on our society and in particular on the burden on our health-care system. And clearly, we're eager to prevent that from happening. We know that these two vaccines can be safely administered at the same time."

Toronto hosting super supportive clinics this weekend

The city also announced Wednesday that it is opening four super supportive clinics in Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough from Friday to Saturday.

The clinics will provide support for those who are afraid of needles, need to sit down while waiting, need a quiet space to get vaccinated, need a companion when vaccinated and need an ASL interpreter.

"I understand these are needs that people have that are entirely reasonable, and we're going to try to meet them so as to help people get vaccinated as well," Tory said.

Three of the clinics – Elm Bank Community Centre, Oakridge Community Centre, and St. Margaret's Anglican Church -- will be held on Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The fourth clinic at North York Seniors Centre will be held on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.