East Toronto Health Partners evolving mobile vaccination strategy to include COVID-19 Outreach Centres, workplace and door-to-door vaccinations, street team and bus to help further break down barriers to vaccines

Healthcare workers transport vaccines in a cart on the street

Nurses and clerks from ETHP’s mobile vaccination team walk along the streets of East Toronto to administer vaccines to local residents.

(August 3, 2021) Toronto — East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP), the Ontario Health Team (OHT) serving East Toronto, is evolving its mobile vaccination strategy to include COVID-19 Outreach Centres, workplace and door-to-door vaccinations, a street team of vaccinators and a mobile vaccination bus to help further break down barriers local residents are facing to getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

These tactics expand on ETHP’s existing mobile vaccination strategy, which, since December 2020, has seen the OHT’s mobile vaccination team visit more than 170 locations across East Toronto, including parks, plazas and schools, to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to eligible individuals who live, work and/or go to school there or in the surrounding area.

The evolving mobile vaccination strategy includes the following elements:

COVID-19 Outreach Centres

ETHP’s COVID-19 Outreach Centres serve as one-stop shops for COVID-19 resources where local residents may receive COVID-19 assessments and tests, as well as their first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, in a place that is familiar and close to home. Child-friendly COVID-19 testing, assessments and vaccinations are available by walk-in.

The Centres are staffed by trusted local family physicians, nurses and pharmacy staff who are able to answer questions and share reliable, evidence-based information about COVID-19 and vaccines. They’re promoted by local agencies and community ambassadors. This helps local residents make confident, educated decisions about vaccination. In addition, the Centres help share information about COVID-19-related initiatives, such as mobile and pop-up vaccine clinics, taking place in the surrounding area.

At this time, ETHP’s COVID-19 Outreach Centres are located at the following sites. These neighbourhoods were selected because data indicates they have historically high incidences of COVID-19 and low vaccination rates. The locations are familiar to local residents and easily accessible by foot, bike or transit.

Flemingdon Park

Address: Angela James Arena (165 Grenoble Dr.)

Hours: Open every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 1-7 p.m. (Last registration at 6:45 p.m.)

Oakridge (Scarborough)

Address: The Hub at Warden Woods Community Centre (76 Firvalley Court)

Hours: Open every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from 1-7 p.m. (Last registration at 6:45 p.m.)

Taylor-Massey (Crescent Town)

Address: Crescent Town Health Centre (4 The Market Place)

Hours: Open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 1-6:30 p.m. (Last registration at 6:15 p.m.)

Thorncliffe Park

Address: TNO Youth Centre (45 Overlea Blvd., Unit 108A)

Hours: Open every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 1-7 p.m. (Last registration at 6:45 p.m.)

These locations build on the existing infrastructure of temporary COVID-19 testing sites operated by ETHP since as early as May 2020. As vaccine supply becomes more readily available across Ontario, ETHP recognized the opportunity to expand the services at these sites to better support COVID-19 recovery in priority neighbourhoods.

Other services available at ETHP’s COVID-19 Outreach Centres include case management support for individuals who test positive for COVID-19. This may involve connecting individuals with contactless grocery delivery services and assisting with access to government supports. It builds on a successful COVID-19 Case Management Program run by ETHP.

The operations and promotion of ETHP’s COVID-19 Outreach Centres are led by local community agencies in the neighbourhoods they serve, including Health Access Thorncliffe Park (HATP), Flemingdon Health Centre (FHC), TNO — The Neighbourhood Organization (TNO), Warden Woods Community Centre and WoodGreen Community Services, with support from Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) and East Toronto Family Practice Network (EasT-FPN). All of these organizations are members of ETHP.

ETHP will open additional COVID-19 Outreach Centres in communities in East Toronto where need is demonstrated. Beyond COVID-19, the OHT hopes to eventually offer additional services at the Centres, including connecting local residents with family physicians and other primary care providers, which will help forward ETHP’s mission of creating an integrated system of care across East Toronto.

Workplace Vaccinations

Beginning in August, ETHP is visiting workplaces in East Toronto to deliver vaccines to staff working onsite. This helps individuals who are unable to take time off work, or who find it difficult to take time off work, receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Employers who are interested in having ETHP’s mobile vaccination team come to their workplace may request a visit using an online form.

Door-to-Door Vaccinations

ETHP is continuing its work with community partners to deliver vaccines to residents of high-rise apartment buildings in priority neighbourhoods in East Toronto. This includes pairing vaccinators with community ambassadors who go door to door to offer first and second doses to eligible individuals. It also includes setting up pop-up vaccine clinics in building lobbies and communal areas for residents.

Mobile Vaccination Street Team

ETHP is deploying a team of nurses and registration clerks to the streets of East Toronto where, equipped with a mobile vaccine cart, they will administer the COVID-19 vaccine to local residents, pedestrians, staff and patrons of local businesses, and others. This helps make vaccines as accessible as possible to our communities. To start, ETHP’s mobile vaccination team will visit areas along Danforth Avenue, Queen Street East and Gerrard Street East.

Members of ETHP's mobile vaccination team stand outside a bus that travels to priority neighbourhoods to deliver COVID-19 vaccines.

Members of ETHP’s mobile vaccination team stand outside a bus that travels to priority neighbourhoods to deliver COVID-19 vaccines.

Mobile Vaccination Bus

ETHP is deploying a mobile vaccination bus to priority neighbourhoods in East Toronto to help local residents more easily receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Staffed by MGH registration clerks and pharmacy staff, and vaccinators from Toronto Paramedic Services, the bus travels to sites that residents live close to, such as outside high-rise apartment buildings. Vaccines are administered on the bus and clients complete their observation period outside to help ensure physical distancing. Local outreach is provided by staff and community ambassadors from partner agencies such as TNO.

Quotes

“As COVID-19 vaccine supply becomes more readily available across Ontario, we recognize there are still members of our community who face barriers to receiving the vaccine. By meeting local residents where they are — whether it’s at work, in a park or parking lot near their home or while they’re on their daily walk through the neighbourhood — we hope to make vaccines as easy and convenient to access as possible. This will help ensure everyone in our community is protected against COVID-19, including those who are most vulnerable,” said Phillip Anthony, manager of the East Toronto Mobile Vaccination Strategy at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH).

“Local family physicians have helped staff ETHP’s temporary COVID-19 testing sites and vaccine clinics throughout the pandemic, delivering tests, assessments and vaccinations and serving as trusted sources for important COVID-19 information. We’re thrilled to continue this support as ETHP’s mobile vaccination strategy evolves to further reach those people who have yet to have the opportunity to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. By embedding primary care at the COVID-19 Outreach Centres, we will also be able to better support the health and well-being of our communities in the long-term,” said Dr. Eleanor Colledge, physician lead for COVID-19 Assessment Centre response at East Toronto Family Practice Network (EasT-FPN).

“These strategies give our community members a range of easy ways to access the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as other COVID-19 supports, including testing. This helps remove barriers to these services, making it more likely that people will seek help when they need it and helping to further prevent and limit the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” said Aamir Sukhera, community ambassador lead at TNO — The Neighbourhood Organization (TNO).

“Whether it’s COVID-19 testing or getting vaccines into the arms of those who need them most, our work during the pandemic so far would not have been possible without the support of our community partners. These organizations know their communities best, so their guidance and feedback has been invaluable when it comes to how we can most effectively reach community members to share information and initiatives that help protect our most vulnerable residents,” said Denny Petkovski, interim director of corporate projects and volunteer services at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH).

About East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP)

East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP), the Ontario Health Team (OHT) serving East Toronto, is a group of more than 50 community, primary care, home care, hospital and social services organizations in East Toronto working together to create an integrated system of care across our communities. Collectively, ETHP is responsible for providing care and support to the 300,000 individuals who live in East Toronto communities, as well as an additional 75,000 clients who choose to receive health care in the local area. Clients, family members and caregivers are partners in every aspect of the development of ETHP, working together to improve the way East Toronto residents access and receive care. Visit ethp.ca to learn more.

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