The University of Toronto is hosting a COVID-19 vaccine clinic on its Mississauga campus and is exploring other ways to support the largest vaccination campaign in Canadian history – including providing space for clinics on its other campuses.
U of T Mississauga has joined forces with Trillium Health Partners (THP), overseen by Peel Public Health, to open a mass vaccination clinic in the campus’s Recreation, Athletics & Wellness Centre on March 1.
The THP-operated clinic has the capacity to deliver up to 2,000 doses a day of Health Canada-approved vaccine by the end of March – and could grow its capacity to 4,000 doses per day in later phases. It’s expected that the clinic could ultimately vaccinate up to half a million people against the coronavirus.
U of T Scarborough is also preparing to provide space for a vaccination clinic, and discussion is underway regarding a clinic on the St. George campus. With clinics open on all three campuses, it is estimated that hospital partners and public health authorities would have the capacity to administer more than one million vaccinations by the end of summer using space provided by U of T.
U of T President Meric Gertler said the university is pleased to offer space and equipment, such as ultra-cold storage freezers, to support these critically important initiatives.
“From the outset of this crisis, University of Toronto students, faculty and staff have stepped up to help, in addition to their crucial work on the front lines of COVID-related research, innovation and clinical care,” he said.
As examples, President Gertler cited volunteer efforts to run errands for front-line workers and to provide much-needed personal protective equipment to hospitals.
“Now, the U of T community is ready and eager to help carry out the largest immunization campaign in Canadian history.”
The vaccine clinic at U of T Mississauga comes as public health experts warn of a potential third wave fueled by more contagious variants of the virus. It could be just one of several ways the university lends its resources to public health authorities in connection with Ontario’s mass vaccination effort.
“THP’s COVID-19 mass vaccine clinic is now in place and prepared for a quick ramp up to deliver the vaccine to Peel residents,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
“We thank Trillium Health Partners, University of Toronto Mississauga and the Peel region for their partnership and for sharing our goal to be able to administer COVID-19 vaccines quickly and safely to protect the community.”
Salvatore Spadafora, a physician and senior adviser to the dean of the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, who is also special adviser to the president and provost on COVID-19, likened the university’s participation in the vaccination campaign to its contributions at another time of crisis: the Great War.
“A hundred years ago, there were British First World War biplanes on the university grounds and troops training on campus,” he said. “We are taking the same all-hands-on-deck approach toward fighting a different common enemy: SARS-CoV-2.
“The variants of concern make it even more important to vaccinate people as soon as possible.”
(By Geoffrey Vandeville)