GO-VAXX Clinics Achieve Major Milestone

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GO Bear is shown outside one of the VAXX buses. (Metrolinx photo)

TORONTO: They’re green, they roll, and they get the job done. Ontario’s GO-VAXX mobile vaccine clinics have proven to be a highly effective component of the province’s last mile strategy to get COVID-19 vaccines to Ontarians.

Since they first hit the road in mid-August, the GO-VAXX clinics have now administered more than 10,000 first and second doses through smaller, community-based and easy-to-access settings across Southern Ontario and beyond.

“The GO-VAXX buses demonstrate what can happen when multiple organizations work towards a common goal,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.

“Metrolinx stepped up from the start – quickly retrofitting GO Transit buses into mobile clinics – and has continued to ensure the buses serve as a safe, reliable and convenient way for people to obtain their vaccine. This partnership, along with the support of public health units and the more than 100 clinic host organizations, have been key to the success of this initiative.”

The original two GO-VAXX buses were joined by a third bus in early September due to demand. The buses have travelled throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area, east to Belleville, west to Welland and Leamington, and north to Bracebridge, bringing vaccines to more than 148 locations including shopping malls, fairs, sporting events and post-secondary institutions in different communities. Of the 10,000+ doses administered to date, 48 per cent were first doses.

“A key component of Ontario’s last mile strategy is to get COVID-19 vaccines to people, wherever they are living,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

“The GOVAXX buses played an important part in increasing vaccine uptake in Ontario by making it easier and more convenient for people to receive their vaccine closer to home. Vaccines remain our best protection against COVID-19 and the Delta variant, and I encourage everyone who hasn’t yet received their first or second dose to do so as soon as possible.”

“Metrolinx is pleased to be a partner in this innovative and successful approach linking vaccination and transit,” said Phil Verster, President and CEO, Metrolinx.

“The retrofitted GOVAXX buses have been safely rolling into communities where vaccines are needed, playing an important role in keeping everyone safe and protected.”

The GO-VAXX mobile vaccine clinics, which are fully accessible and heated will continue to operate in the months ahead. The schedule is updated weekly and no appointment is necessary. Both first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine are available.

• COVID-19 vaccines are currently available at over 7,400 locations across the province, including more than 3,700 pharmacies and more than 3,700 mass immunization clinics, hospitals, primary care settings and pop up and mobile clinics.

• To date, more than 87 per cent of Ontarians aged 12 and over have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and more than 83 per cent have received both doses, ensuring the strongest possible protection.

• GO-VAXX is a mobile vaccine walk-in clinic and does not offer appointments. Individuals can continue to use Ontario’s vaccine booking system to find out how to schedule an appointment, or can call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre: 1-833-943-3900 (TTY for people who are deaf, hearing-impaired or speechimpaired: 1-866-797-0007). Appointments can also be scheduled directly through public health units that use their own booking system, and through participating pharmacies. Select primary care providers are also reaching out to book appointments.

• Those who have questions about COVID-19 vaccines and would like to speak to an experienced agent or health specialist are encouraged to call the Provincial Vaccine Confidence Line that can be accessed through the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre: 1-833-943-3900 (TTY for people who are deaf, hearing-impaired or speech-impaired: 1-866-797- 0007). The Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre is available in more than 300 languages, seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

• Individuals can book a phone appointment with a qualified doctor who is ready to talk and answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccine at the Scarborough Health Network’s VaxFacts clinic, which is open to individuals across Ontario. For more information, please visit https:// www.shn.ca/vaxfacts/.

• Parents and caregivers who have questions about COVID-19 vaccines for children and youth can visit www.sickkids.ca/vaccineconsult to book a confidential phone appointment with a SickKids clinician. For assistance booking an appointment, please call 437-881-3505.

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