Scotiabank Arena was the site of a huge victory on Sunday in the fight against COVID-19: The mega-clinic held at the home of the Maple Leafs and Raptors set a record for a one-day, single-dose vaccination clinic.
“The North American single-dose clinic record is 17,003 doses set at the Texas Motor Speedway,” Toronto City counsellor Joe Cressy (Ward 10, Spadina-Fort York) tweeted earlier Sunday. “Toronto, we’re about to crush it.”
Crush it they did, as they sailed past the 17,000 dose mark late Sunday afternoon. And it didn’t stop there: Dose No. 25,000 was administered at approximately 8:30 p.m. By late Sunday night, Toronto Public Health confirmed that all in all, 26,771 doses were administered at the one-day clinic.
Canada’s previous one-day immunization record was 10,470, set at the Thorncliffe Park Community Hub at East York Town Centre on May 16. The Scotiabank Arena clinic had administered a record-breaking 11,000 vaccine doses as of 3 p.m.
Mayor John Tory was on hand, unveiling his new pandemic ponytail, as he received his second vaccination at Sunday’s event.
“This is our winning shot, Toronto,” Tory tweeted Sunday morning on what had been proclaimed Toronto Vaccine Day. There were 25,000 vaccination shots booked for the downtown venue.
The mayor looked like a roadie as he appeared at the downtown venue with his now shaggy hair tied back in a short ponytail. He said in a CP24 interview that he had help from an undisclosed source constructing the tightly-bound ponytail. Tory received AstraZeneca for his first dose April 10 at a Shoppers Drug Mart on Queen Street West.
“We’ve proven during the pandemic, when people work together, whether it’s corporations that own Scotiabank arena, the Toronto Public Health, and all the health care workers, you can get incredible things done,” Tory said in a prepared statement.
Tory spoke glowingly of the speed and efficiency of the operation, which partnered the City of Toronto and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Scotiabank and Michael Garron Hospital and University Health Network.
“This (clinic) was put together in the blink of an eye, relatively speaking,” Tory said.
Patricia Malkin of Scarborough gleefully posted on Instagram a photo of a tiny bandage on her shoulder.
“Overall, the experience was good,” Malkin said. “Line moved quickly, was extremely long, but moved quickly. I feel relieved to have it over with and can hopefully get back to a somewhat normal life.”
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Sunday’s event primarily administered Moderna vaccine, with a limited amount of Pfizer doses reserved for youth ages 12 to 17.
All day long the giant scoreboard inside the arena flashed out vaccination totals, which were continually updated.
Sunday’s mass vaccination came as the city and health care partners worked to operate 49 clinics on the weekend, including on-site and pop-up clinics and mobile teams.
The goal of 25,000 vaccinations at one venue meant a pace of 1,785 average vaccines per hour, aided by a team of nearly 1,500 that included 800 volunteers and 400 vaccinators.
The capacity of Scotiabank Arena is 19,800, meaning vaccinators sought to bring in 5,200 more people throughout Sunday than a sellout Maple Leafs or Raptors home game.
Raptors and Leafs mascots were present and some attendees won tickets to Maple Leafs or Raptors games. The TTC offered free rides to and from confirmed vaccination appointments, with proof of appointments and confirmation of vaccination.
There was plenty of joy on social media.
“There’s a feeling that we’re all in this together,” tweeted Luwam Ogbaselassie of the University Health Network social medicine program.
“We’re making history in Toronto,” tweeted University of Toronto associate professor of family medicine, Dr. David M. Kaplan.
Fox_in_love posted “Double dosed!” on Instagram under a “I made history today! I got my COVID-19 vaccine” poster.
Shanerivers1234 posted “Thanks to the @mapleleafs…” while kumwah exclaimed, “Second Dose DONE!”
With files from Simran Singh
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