Vaccine Hunters Canada is helping people find vaccination locations in Toronto
Vaccine Hunters Canada is helping people in Toronto find locations with vaccine availability, because it's no secret that Ontario's rollout has been chaotic, confusing and outright infuriating for many residents who've had trouble figuring out who's eligible and where to go to get inoculated.
The organization, created by a Toronto-based web developer and based on a similar U.S. service, constantly shares up-to-date information on Twitter and Discord about eligibility and vaccine clinic locations across the country, and many in Ontario and Toronto specifically have been using it to navigate the confusing process of booking appointments and getting that first dose.
[ON] Same-day appointments for 55+ available today at Costco Thorncliffe Park, 42 Overlea Blvd (Costco membership not required, AstraZeneca): https://t.co/krQZ3aLnc4 (source: https://t.co/86WPfFUv8T) #COVID19 #COVID19Vaccine #COVID19ON #vhcON— Vaccine Hunters Canada (@VaxHuntersCan) April 16, 2021
Sabrina Craig, a Twitter contributor with the organization, says she regularly spends time scouring pharmacy websites to check for availability while also responding to direct messages and emails from confused Canadians.
Other volunteers meanwhile monitor public health portals, vaccine clinic websites and tips from the account's followers.
"We want to empower people to access the vaccines that they are eligible to get," she tells blogTO. "We also saw a need to help people navigate the systems that are there."
But Craig says she never expected the resource to gain so much traction so quickly, adding that the account is now at nearly at 50,000 followers.
[ON] HOTSPOT 18+: West Park Healthcare Centre - Community Hub has spots Apr 22 and 23 for 18+ in hotspot postal codes (see image): https://t.co/z53NvafqxU #COVID19 #COVID19Vaccine #COVID19ON #vhcON pic.twitter.com/KPu6h0t8pc— Vaccine Hunters Canada (@VaxHuntersCan) April 16, 2021
Vaccine Hunters Canada began to gain notoriety when Kim's Convenience star Jean Yoon shared that she managed to book an appointment using info from the resource, Craig says, and notable infectious disease expert Dr. Isaac Bogoch also began following them shortly after.
Holy crap, I am booked and confirmed for my first dose on Saturday! Holy shit! Oh my god!— Jean Yoon (윤 진 희 or 尹真姬) (@jean_yoon) April 2, 2021
As 50+ in a Covid Hotspot region.
Please pass this info on, book if you are eligible. Get friends & family to book for the jab. The sooner we’re innoculated, the sooner this will end. https://t.co/UHzZVzlzFS
While the account is certainly serving as an aid to confused residents searching for an opportunity to get their first dose, Craig says Vaccine Hunters Canada shouldn't be considered a full-out replacement for the important information being shared by medical experts and public health units.
[ON] City of Toronto (+GTA) how to get vaccinated guide for city wide clinics. https://t.co/uloiYx9UmF— Vaccine Hunters Canada (@VaxHuntersCan) April 16, 2021
And for those who are looking to help others get vaccinated, Craig says people should help eligible older adults navigate the registration process for appointments at their nearest vaccine clinic and share any important information with Vaccine Hunters on Twitter.
"I think it's the Canadian spirit to be helpers," she says. "Our hope in the future is that there is more vaccines available and a little less collective uncertainty."
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