Emma Teitel: Forget the anti-vaxxers. The real story is the thousands in Toronto each day changing their minds and getting the jab

Opinion Sep 16, 2021 by Emma Teitel City Columnist

If you’re still reeling from recent anti-vaxxer protests outside downtown hospitals maybe this will lift your spirits: On Monday, the day that dozens of anti-vaxxers spewed their bile on hospital row, roughly 4,500 Torontonians were vaccinated at clinics all over the city. And of those Torontonians, it’s likely that 40-50 per cent received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to Joe Cressy, chair of Toronto’s Board of Health.

Dozens of jerks vs. 4,500 vaccinated Torontonians.

Anti-vaxxers may appear in outraged headline after outraged headline, and don’t get me wrong, they deserve the derision. But we shouldn’t let their reckless racket distract us from the quiet vaccination victories being won consistently at mobile clinics across Toronto, outside transit stations, apartment complexes and shopping centres.

“The city push is going really well,” says Phil Anthony, the manager of vaccination strategy at Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto’s east end. “We’re seeing an increase in first doses on a daily basis and it is driven by hyperlocal clinics.”

This week, the city will push further. Ever fond of embarrassing catch phrases, Mayor John Tory on Wednesday announced the launch of “#DaysofVaxtion,” a four-day pop-up clinic campaign (Thursday-Sunday) aimed at getting shots into the arms of the roughly 314,000 eligible Torontonians who aren’t fully vaccinated (of which, according to Tory, 158,000 have not received a first dose).

Toronto Public Health and hospital staff will set up shop outside various high-density locations, such as TTC stations, schools, parks and malls: a “mega-event” composed of “micro-clinics” according to Tory. “Gone are the days of the world record-breaking clinic at Scotiabank arena,” says Cressy. “Now we’re moving to dozens of hyperlocal clinics.”

Clinics — if you can believe it — where people actually change their minds. It may be utterly pointless trying to convince an anti-vaxxer steeped in conspiracy theory to get immunized. But the success of Toronto’s mobile clinics proves that non-ideologues (a.k.a. people of good faith) can see reason where they once saw fear. Or convenience where they once saw a hassle.

“Last week I was at a clinic in East York outside a series of apartment buildings,” says Cressy. “The first three people in line were all getting their first dose. The first person was a guy about 50 years old and he wanted a vaccine for a couple of months but just didn’t know where to get one. We brought the clinic to him.

“The second person was a woman who was 32 weeks pregnant. She had questions about taking the vaccine while pregnant. She spoke to her OB to a point where she felt comfortable. She came out of her apartment and got the shot while her parents took care of her older kid.”

And the third person in line, Cressy says, was a guy in his thirties who wasn’t staunchly opposed to the vaccine, but who had no plans to be vaccinated until news of the province’s proof of immunization certificate was announced. He “wanted to go to bars,” Cressy says.

The city councillor described the encounters as “a fascinating case study. Three different people all getting their first dose, all with three very different reasons.”

Good for them. Good for us.

If you’re fully vaccinated and you’re frustrated with those who aren’t, it’s easy to forget that the world isn’t divided cleanly into two camps: the fully vaxxed and the never-gonna-get-vaxxed. There are still thousands of people in this city who are on the fence about the shot, leaning toward yes. And helping to nudge them over that fence into the land of protection-from-COVID-19 are health-care workers patiently answering questions and refusing to judge. Their work is invaluable and unending.

“The real story is how well we’ve come together to do this,” adds Michael Garron’s Anthony. “How rewarding it to see so many different sectors come together to vaccinate Toronto: hospitals, Toronto Public Health, community health centres.”

Despite what the anti-vaxxers want you to believe, and what the breathless coverage of their lost cause may suggest, it’s not all doom and gloom in the city. People change their minds every day to protect themselves and us. They won’t stop.

Emma Teitel is a Toronto-based city columnist for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @emmaroseteitel

Emma Teitel: Forget the anti-vaxxers. The real story is the thousands in Toronto each day changing their minds and getting the jab

Opinion Sep 16, 2021 by Emma Teitel City Columnist

If you’re still reeling from recent anti-vaxxer protests outside downtown hospitals maybe this will lift your spirits: On Monday, the day that dozens of anti-vaxxers spewed their bile on hospital row, roughly 4,500 Torontonians were vaccinated at clinics all over the city. And of those Torontonians, it’s likely that 40-50 per cent received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to Joe Cressy, chair of Toronto’s Board of Health.

Dozens of jerks vs. 4,500 vaccinated Torontonians.

Anti-vaxxers may appear in outraged headline after outraged headline, and don’t get me wrong, they deserve the derision. But we shouldn’t let their reckless racket distract us from the quiet vaccination victories being won consistently at mobile clinics across Toronto, outside transit stations, apartment complexes and shopping centres.

“The city push is going really well,” says Phil Anthony, the manager of vaccination strategy at Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto’s east end. “We’re seeing an increase in first doses on a daily basis and it is driven by hyperlocal clinics.”

This week, the city will push further. Ever fond of embarrassing catch phrases, Mayor John Tory on Wednesday announced the launch of “#DaysofVaxtion,” a four-day pop-up clinic campaign (Thursday-Sunday) aimed at getting shots into the arms of the roughly 314,000 eligible Torontonians who aren’t fully vaccinated (of which, according to Tory, 158,000 have not received a first dose).

Toronto Public Health and hospital staff will set up shop outside various high-density locations, such as TTC stations, schools, parks and malls: a “mega-event” composed of “micro-clinics” according to Tory. “Gone are the days of the world record-breaking clinic at Scotiabank arena,” says Cressy. “Now we’re moving to dozens of hyperlocal clinics.”

Clinics — if you can believe it — where people actually change their minds. It may be utterly pointless trying to convince an anti-vaxxer steeped in conspiracy theory to get immunized. But the success of Toronto’s mobile clinics proves that non-ideologues (a.k.a. people of good faith) can see reason where they once saw fear. Or convenience where they once saw a hassle.

“Last week I was at a clinic in East York outside a series of apartment buildings,” says Cressy. “The first three people in line were all getting their first dose. The first person was a guy about 50 years old and he wanted a vaccine for a couple of months but just didn’t know where to get one. We brought the clinic to him.

“The second person was a woman who was 32 weeks pregnant. She had questions about taking the vaccine while pregnant. She spoke to her OB to a point where she felt comfortable. She came out of her apartment and got the shot while her parents took care of her older kid.”

And the third person in line, Cressy says, was a guy in his thirties who wasn’t staunchly opposed to the vaccine, but who had no plans to be vaccinated until news of the province’s proof of immunization certificate was announced. He “wanted to go to bars,” Cressy says.

The city councillor described the encounters as “a fascinating case study. Three different people all getting their first dose, all with three very different reasons.”

Good for them. Good for us.

If you’re fully vaccinated and you’re frustrated with those who aren’t, it’s easy to forget that the world isn’t divided cleanly into two camps: the fully vaxxed and the never-gonna-get-vaxxed. There are still thousands of people in this city who are on the fence about the shot, leaning toward yes. And helping to nudge them over that fence into the land of protection-from-COVID-19 are health-care workers patiently answering questions and refusing to judge. Their work is invaluable and unending.

“The real story is how well we’ve come together to do this,” adds Michael Garron’s Anthony. “How rewarding it to see so many different sectors come together to vaccinate Toronto: hospitals, Toronto Public Health, community health centres.”

Despite what the anti-vaxxers want you to believe, and what the breathless coverage of their lost cause may suggest, it’s not all doom and gloom in the city. People change their minds every day to protect themselves and us. They won’t stop.

Emma Teitel is a Toronto-based city columnist for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @emmaroseteitel

Emma Teitel: Forget the anti-vaxxers. The real story is the thousands in Toronto each day changing their minds and getting the jab

Opinion Sep 16, 2021 by Emma Teitel City Columnist

If you’re still reeling from recent anti-vaxxer protests outside downtown hospitals maybe this will lift your spirits: On Monday, the day that dozens of anti-vaxxers spewed their bile on hospital row, roughly 4,500 Torontonians were vaccinated at clinics all over the city. And of those Torontonians, it’s likely that 40-50 per cent received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to Joe Cressy, chair of Toronto’s Board of Health.

Dozens of jerks vs. 4,500 vaccinated Torontonians.

Anti-vaxxers may appear in outraged headline after outraged headline, and don’t get me wrong, they deserve the derision. But we shouldn’t let their reckless racket distract us from the quiet vaccination victories being won consistently at mobile clinics across Toronto, outside transit stations, apartment complexes and shopping centres.

“The city push is going really well,” says Phil Anthony, the manager of vaccination strategy at Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto’s east end. “We’re seeing an increase in first doses on a daily basis and it is driven by hyperlocal clinics.”

This week, the city will push further. Ever fond of embarrassing catch phrases, Mayor John Tory on Wednesday announced the launch of “#DaysofVaxtion,” a four-day pop-up clinic campaign (Thursday-Sunday) aimed at getting shots into the arms of the roughly 314,000 eligible Torontonians who aren’t fully vaccinated (of which, according to Tory, 158,000 have not received a first dose).

Toronto Public Health and hospital staff will set up shop outside various high-density locations, such as TTC stations, schools, parks and malls: a “mega-event” composed of “micro-clinics” according to Tory. “Gone are the days of the world record-breaking clinic at Scotiabank arena,” says Cressy. “Now we’re moving to dozens of hyperlocal clinics.”

Clinics — if you can believe it — where people actually change their minds. It may be utterly pointless trying to convince an anti-vaxxer steeped in conspiracy theory to get immunized. But the success of Toronto’s mobile clinics proves that non-ideologues (a.k.a. people of good faith) can see reason where they once saw fear. Or convenience where they once saw a hassle.

“Last week I was at a clinic in East York outside a series of apartment buildings,” says Cressy. “The first three people in line were all getting their first dose. The first person was a guy about 50 years old and he wanted a vaccine for a couple of months but just didn’t know where to get one. We brought the clinic to him.

“The second person was a woman who was 32 weeks pregnant. She had questions about taking the vaccine while pregnant. She spoke to her OB to a point where she felt comfortable. She came out of her apartment and got the shot while her parents took care of her older kid.”

And the third person in line, Cressy says, was a guy in his thirties who wasn’t staunchly opposed to the vaccine, but who had no plans to be vaccinated until news of the province’s proof of immunization certificate was announced. He “wanted to go to bars,” Cressy says.

The city councillor described the encounters as “a fascinating case study. Three different people all getting their first dose, all with three very different reasons.”

Good for them. Good for us.

If you’re fully vaccinated and you’re frustrated with those who aren’t, it’s easy to forget that the world isn’t divided cleanly into two camps: the fully vaxxed and the never-gonna-get-vaxxed. There are still thousands of people in this city who are on the fence about the shot, leaning toward yes. And helping to nudge them over that fence into the land of protection-from-COVID-19 are health-care workers patiently answering questions and refusing to judge. Their work is invaluable and unending.

“The real story is how well we’ve come together to do this,” adds Michael Garron’s Anthony. “How rewarding it to see so many different sectors come together to vaccinate Toronto: hospitals, Toronto Public Health, community health centres.”

Despite what the anti-vaxxers want you to believe, and what the breathless coverage of their lost cause may suggest, it’s not all doom and gloom in the city. People change their minds every day to protect themselves and us. They won’t stop.

Emma Teitel is a Toronto-based city columnist for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @emmaroseteitel