Community News Update - November 19, 2021

Dear Community,

This morning, Health Canada announced that they have now approved a modified dosage of the Pfizer vaccine to be used in children aged 5 to 11. This is a major development and should help further slow the spread of COVID-19 across Canada.

From their review, Health Canada determined that the modified dose (1/3rd the size of the standard Pfizer dose), was slightly over 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 in children aged 5 to 11 and found no serious side effects. While Health Canada has authorized the administration of two-doses, with a 3-week wait between shots, right now the NACI is recommending an 8-week interval. The reason for the extended interval is that studies have found the longer period generates a stronger immune system response.

So, when will kids in Ontario be able to start getting their shots?

As it stands right now, Ontario should start receiving the kid-sized doses within the next week, and Toronto Public Health is taking the lead in their distribution in our city. Right now, the plan is to primarily deliver these in a variety of settings, including all five city-run immunization clinics (which will have extended hours), participating pharmacies, and health teams.

For the city-run vaccination clinics, they should have approximately 20,000 appointments available between Nov 25 and Dec 5 – and those appointments will be able to be booked through the provincial vaccine portal.

Vaccines will also be distributed in in schools (though not during school hours). In the coming days, as these details are finalized, I will be sure to share more specifics on vaccine access for children aged 5 to 11.

You can read more about the Team Toronto plan here.

While I welcome this vaccine approval whole-heartedly, there is one frustration that I must address. Why is vaccine registration in Ontario for this new age group is not already underway – why aren’t we ready immediately? While we’ve known for weeks that this approval was coming soon, but still the Ford government dragged their feet in preparation.

At almost the same time that we learned that vaccines will be coming for children aged 5 to 11 this morning, we also learned that our province was reporting an additional 793 cases of COVID-19, another increase that brings our seven-day average up to 625 – the highest it’s been in nearly two months. As it stands, ICU cases are holding fairly steady, but we will have to see in the coming weeks if the numbers there begin to climb as well.

As always – I want to remind everyone to please get vaccinated.

This is the end of a busy week, and I’m happy to share with everyone some of what I’ve been up to in just the last 48 hours.

Yesterday, I made a stop at the Holy Blossom Temple Out-of-the-Cold program for their first day back of their new season. This year, they are handing out hot meals on Thursdays from 4 to 5PM at the Temple’s Dewbourne entrance, as well as warm clothing when they have it on hand. When I swung by yesterday, I donated neck warmers that we’re knitted by volunteers from the National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED).

It was fantastic to connect with the volunteers at the site, and I’d like to remind everyone that if you, or someone you know is in need of a hot meal – please drop by Holy Blossom Temple’s (1950 Bathurst Street) program on Thursdays 4 to 5PM. 

I also took some time this week to drop by what is now known as the Humewood Campus of the Massey Centre  – the name change coming after the merger of  Humewood House and the Massey Centre. Regardless of the name change, they are still offering incredibly important programs in our community who provide vital services for pregnant and parenting young women and their families.

On my trip there, I donated school supplies which were collected at our Community Food Tables this year. I’m sure that they will be put to great use!

Tenants in our community often face a myriad of challenges, and it was great to have a chance to meet and speak with tenants from a few buildings on Vaughan Road who are dealing with some challenges with their building management.

Frankly, the challenges that they’re facing are things that I hear about from buildings across the riding, and if you’re dealing with an issue in your building that you’d like to speak with me about – please don’t hesitate to email my office at [email protected].

Last – but not least – I must give a big shout out to Soul Provisions – an absolutely fantastic business in our Vaughan and Oakwood Community that specialize in delicious soups, custom popsicles, and even incredible art you can buy as well!

They are also a community-building space – often hosting different artists and projects on their patio. Yesterday was their last evening of a soundscape and video installation called Soulful Toronto, and after weeks of wanting to go – I finally made it. It was the perfect way to cap another busy day in Toronto-St. Paul’s.

Of course, I didn’t leave without picking up some soup and mulled wine!

Finally today – I’d like to send a warm welcome to a new business that just opened up at Yonge and St. Clair – Istanbul Doner Wrap!

They’re located at 1404 Yonge Street – and I can’t wait to drop by!

Photo Credit: Yonge + St. Clair BIA

In Solidarity,
 
Jill Andrew
Toronto—St. Paul's

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