TORONTO — Toronto achieved a significant milestone in its vaccine campaign after 25,000 doses were administered at the Scotiabank Arena clinic Sunday, possibly setting a world record in shots given in a single day in one clinic.
The temporary mass immunization clinic set up inside the home of the Raptors and the Maple Leafs also broke the national and North American records, the city said.
Dubbed “Our Winning Shot,” the event was held to encourage residents to get their first and second doses as a more infectious variant of COVID-19 becomes dominant in the province.
The city partnered with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Scotiabank, Michael Garron Hospital, and the University Health Network for the event.
After getting their vaccine, people received a free rally towel. Fifty pairs of Maple Leafs and Raptors tickets were also given away. Several TV and radio personalities, including the teams’ mascots, were also present at the clinic to bring entertainment.
One of the people who received their vaccine at the clinic was Mayor John Tory, who proclaimed June 27, 2021, as Toronto Vaccine Day.
“It’s a well-oiled machine. It’s extraordinary. Twenty-five thousand people will come through here today, and it really seems to be well organized,” Tory told CP24 Sunday morning after receiving his second dose.
The mayor said vaccination is the key to getting life back to normal.
“It’s exciting to be in the arena, even for me. I’ve been there many, many times…but there’s nothing like the excitement of being in there when one of our teams is playing,” Tory said.
“This is about getting back to a life that we love.”
As of Sunday, 76 per cent of Ontario adults have received their first dose of a vaccine, while just over 35 per cent have received their second dose.
“That means there’s 24 per cent [of people] who haven’t even had a first dose, let alone a second, and they need to get vaccinated,” Tory said.
All of the “Our Winning Shot” appointments were fully booked ahead of the Sunday. However, the city added 2,000 more Moderna vaccine appointments for walk-ins later in the day.
One of the 400 vaccinators at the clinic is Dr. Michael Warner, a critical care doctor at MGH.
“We still do have patients who are now chronically, critically ill from their COVID-19 infection. But in many cases, that infection was acquired two or three months ago. It’s been about three weeks since we’ve admitted a new patient with COVID-19. And I hope we don’t ever admit another patient with COVID-19,” Warner said.
“I’m incredibly hopeful. People want their life back and vaccination is the way to do it.”
Dr. Andrew Boozary, the executive director of social medicine at UHN and one of the vaccinators at the clinic, said the vaccination numbers in the province in the past few days have been phenomenal.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said. “I think we just all needed this boost, where we’re at in the summer, and we’re hopeful that we can see this momentum continue… It’s great to see smiles and hear the music. We’ve seen this in different pockets of the city, but for people to pull together like this.”
The previous Canadian record holder for the most vaccines administered in one day at a clinic was the Thorncliffe Community Hub, where in May, the clinic jabbed more than 10,000 shots.
To mark Sunday’s milestone, the Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square will be lit in pink in support of all those who received their vaccine.