On January 8, the Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones announced the opening of 10 more mass vaccination clinics specifically for education and childcare workers throughout the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The clinics will give increased access to COVID-19 booster shots in order to have better protection for children, families and staff. Due to the Omicron variant, Ontario is encouraging education workers to get their booster shots as soon as possible, to ensure school environments are safe for children and staff.
The clinics will be located across the GTHA in 10 locations. Clinics will be located in different areas being “Yonge Street – Midtown, the Eaton Centre, Richmond Hill, Mississauga, Vaughan, Pickering, Hamilton, Oakville and Brampton” listed by the government of Ontario news. The clinics are available by appointment only and are open 7 days a week, making it accessible for education workers to go this weekend. Workers are able to book their appointment online for their booster shot, at a time convenient for them.
One of the vaccination clinics will be located at Toronto Zoo and is not only open for education workers but for the general public as well.
Victoria Torres, a pre-school teacher in Toronto, says the opening of mass clinics, specifically in midtown Toronto is essential not only for her but other workers as well. “It’s an essential location because of the many childcare facilities that are in the area. It is convenient for teachers that live in areas where they’re opening these clinics. You know it’s hard to get booster shots right now, so opening these clinics will make it easier for us to book an appointment. We work in a high-risk industry, in a high-risk environment, so having these clinics catered to us helps us a lot in doing our part as teachers.”
The government of Ontario set forth specific protocols that will be followed, following the opening of schools this Monday. Some measures that will be taken are “Updated and stricter screening requirements”, “Access for school boards to $1.6 billion in resources”, and “more than 70,000 HEPA filter units” for improved ventilation within schools. These protocols are being followed in order to protect children, family and staff from the spread of COVID-19.
The Ministry of Health and Education says they are planning on making more rapid-antigen tests for schools and child-care centres across the province once children are able to return to in-person classes on Monday.
Stephen Lecce says the additional step for opening schools is ensuring easy access to the clinics. The opening of mass clinics provides faster access for education workers to receive their shots before schools reopen in the province. “As we work to get children back to class, we are taking swift action to establish additional clinics – open seven days a week – that will provide further protection for Ontario’s school communities.”