toronto vaccine day

Fake doctors spread anti-vax message at Scotiabank Arena on Toronto Vaccine Day

Toronto Vaccine Day at Scotiabank Arena on Sunday was by all accounts a huge success, setting an impressive new world record for the most COVID-19 vaccine doses administered within 24 hours at a single clinic.

Though things appeared to run surprisingly smoothly given that a whopping 26,771 residents made their way through the sports and entertainment hub-turned-immunization site, the day wasn't without its hitches — namely, in the form of anti-vaxxers who showed up in an attempt to dissuade those waiting in line from getting their jab.

Amid live DJs, appearances by our hometown Maple Leafs and Raptors mascots and tens of thousands of needles in arms was a group spreading vaccine misinformation while impersonating medical personnel.

Those awaiting their shot cited official-looking individuals donned in lab coats who were holding clipboards and telling people that they still had hours to go before they'd enter the building, when in reality the wait wasn't nearly that long.

They were also allegedly directing people to the wrong gates in an attempt to bungle the vaccine rollout over the course of the day.

The group also set up tables disguised as "information centres" and distributed anti-vax pamphlets with misleading information to people at the scene.

Many were notably not wearing masks — dead giveaways that they weren't actually clinic staffers, who were, of course, donned in PPE and official Toronto Vaccine Day t-shirts.

There were also the usual protesters touting anti-mask and anti-vax messagings through megaphones, who though disruptive, were perhaps less nefarious given that they weren't trying to pass as actual medical officials.

Thankfully, based on some buzz on the topic on social media, it seems that the group didn't manage to sway those who showed up with the intent to get their first or second dose.

"I don’t think they’ll have much success," said one Redditor on a popular thread about the phonies after they themselves returned from the clinic.

"The number of volunteers at Scotiabank far out number these few clowns. The clinic is doing a fantastic job. The line is massive, but moves quickly."

"All the people in that arena give me the hope back I lost over this whole thing," another added after sharing how they witnessed a mother explaining to her child what the protesters were doing there and why everyone was still getting inoculated.

"Thank you to everyone out there getting jabbed and getting others jabbed."

As of end-of-day yesterday, more than 35 per cent of Torontonians have received their second dose of an approved COVID vaccine, in part thanks to Vaccine Day.

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