ontario second dose vaccines

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.

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.

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.

A clinic in North York had a similar experience with people requesting second doses in a marginalized community and refusing to leave.

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."

Lead photo by

Tanya Mok

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