On March 1, the University of Toronto Mississauga, in conjunction with Trillium Health Partners (THP), opened a mass vaccination site on campus. The effort is being overseen by Peel Public Health and is part of the university administration’s effort to promote health and safety in the community.
The clinic is located at UTM’s Recreation, Athletics, & Wellness Centre (RAWC) and is Mississauga’s first public mass vaccination site. Following the provincial government’s three-phase vaccination plan, THP healthcare professionals will be administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to eligible candidates, starting with priority population groups.
Mississauga residents over the age of 80, front-line healthcare personnel, and care home staff are given prioritized access to the vaccine. Other members of the community will be able to receive their vaccinations during the second and third phases of the vaccination program. However, the exact dates for when these phases will launch are yet to be determined.
The clinic is said to have the capacity to deliver up to 2,000 doses a day by the end of March and is expected to expand to 4,000 per day in the following months. Multiple government and healthcare officials were present at the opening of the UTM vaccination clinic on March 1, including Ontario Premier Doug Ford, General Rick Hillier, Minister of Health Christine Elliott, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, and Peel Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh.
Premier Ford delivered a speech at the clinic’s launch, highlighting the importance of the clinic to Ontario residents.
“THP’s Covid-19 mass vaccine clinic is now in place and ramping up to deliver the vaccine to Peel residents,” said Premier Ford. “Clinics like this one will play a vital role in our provincial vaccination distribution plan in helping to administer Covid-19 vaccines quickly and safely to the people of Ontario.”
Mayor Crombie also spoke at the launch and thanked both UTM and THP for their roles in establishing the clinic.
“It’s an incredible example of our partners working together to support the community at a critical time,” said Mayor Crombie. “It is so important that over the coming weeks we continue to ramp up vaccinations in order to protect our elderly residents, our schools, our hospitals, and other vulnerable residents.”
The UTM campus infrastructure, including specialized freezers and accessibility to the facilities, allow for the proper storage and administration of Covid-19 vaccines on a mass scale to the public. Vaccines will be administered by appointment only, which can be scheduled through the phone or on the Peel Public Health website.
The Ontario vaccine plan has now expanded to include citizens over 80 years of age, First Nations communities, and front-line healthcare workers. Individuals also need to be residents of Peel or fall within the Trillium Health catchment zone to be eligible to receive the vaccination at the clinic. The clinic is accessible by both bus and driving, with designated free parking zones. The entire vaccination process should take approximately 35 minutes.
“The university is pleased to offer its resources for this historic initiative to support residents’ health and well-being, here in Mississauga and in the wider Region of Peel,” stated Professor Alexandra Gillespie, UTM’s principal and vice president. “We are excited to collaborate with Trillium Health Partners and Peel Public Health and look forward to safely welcoming members of the community.”
Professor Gillespie sent out a mass email to the UTM community announcing the launch of the vaccination clinic on March 1. She discussed the role of the UTM community on the development and facilitation of the clinic and thanked them for making it possible.
“Many members of our UTM community have played a significant role in making this clinic possible: I’m extremely grateful for their creativity, patience, and effort,” Gillespie continued. “In units and departments across campus, our employees have united to plan, set up, and launch a mass vaccine clinic in a matter of weeks.”
The clinic will be open for 12 hours, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., every day of the week, including weekends. The vaccination capacity of the clinic is expected to increase in the near future, and THP officials hope to eventually administer more than 500,000 doses of the vaccine at the UTM clinic.
“Alongside our world-class partners at THP, our UTM team has worked weekends, mornings and nights, organizing an outstanding vaccine site even while ensuring the university’s ongoing success, stated Gillespie. “I can’t thank our community enough for rising to the challenge; for sharing their resources and expertise; and for sacrificing their own convenience for the benefit of others.”