People are demanding second vaccine doses at Toronto clinics
A Toronto pop-up vaccine clinic got caught in an unpleasant standoff when people seeking their second dose refused to leave.
The situation unfolded at a pop-up clinic at Cecil Community Centre in the Kensington Market and Chinatown area on Wednesday.
John Yip, president and CEO of Kensington Health, tells blogTO the clinic is one of many in the area and was a joint effort with the Mid-West Toronto Ontario Health Team and community groups such as the Friends of Chinatown TO (for which blogTO staffer Tanya Mok is an organizer), and Friends of Kensington Market.
Thank you so much to our volunteers translators, to Friends of Kensington Market, St. Stephen in the Fields, the staff of @CecilCentre who made the two pop-up clinics a major success, while pushing through the harassment, racism, classism.— Friends of Chinatown TO (@chinatownFOCT) May 27, 2021
Yip says he wasn't at the clinic on Wednesday but understands there was a group of people asking for a second dose. Apparently, misinformation was spread that people could get their second shot at the pop-up clinic, he says.
"The intent of that clinic is for the local residents who have not received a first shot," says Yip.
It was an effort to help elderly people who may not be aware of larger clinics or reluctant to go because of a language barrier, he says.
"We have set up these clinics to address that particular population, using our partners to really serve people who may not get to a mass vaccine centre," says Yip.
being told that they need to make room for racialized people and seniors living in the M5T who are being prioritized. that they cannot stay and need to come back later, because they are crowding the area and making others feel unsafe.— tanya 'yer uncle, Iroh' mok (@_tanyamok) May 26, 2021
The M5T postal code, which includes Chinatown and Kensington, is a priority for first doses given the high rates of COVID-19 infection and low vaccination rates in this neighbourhood, Toronto Public Health tells blogTO.
It was disheartening to see what happened Wednesday, Yip says.
"The fact that members of the community were looking for a second shot and demanding to get it, I think is disappointing, it's selfish and it's very un-Canadian to be honest," Yip says.
This clinic is not the only one to see people asking for second shots and not leaving when volunteers tell them no.
The same happened at a vaccination clinic for the Latin American community. A lot of white people came literally demanding their 2nd shots and many refused to leave. We told them repeatedly that we were only giving 1st doses and prioritizing the community, but they wouldn’t care.— Juan Carlos Mezo-González (@JuanCarlosMezo) May 27, 2021
A clinic in North York had a similar experience with people requesting second doses in a marginalized community and refusing to leave.
I learned from Access Alliance that this is happening to pop ups across the city with affluent people seeking out clinics in low income neighbours— Beryl Tsang (@beryl_tsang) May 27, 2021
The chance to get a second shot is happening for some priority populations, Toronto Public Health says.
But currently, second doses are only available to high-risk health care workers, dialysis patients, and all First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, as announced by the provincial government, Toronto Public Health says.
While the incident Wednesday was unfortunate, Yip says overall he sees a lot of good of people coming together to help others in the community.
"It is really great to see the community helping the community."
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