Once hard-hit by the virus, Scarborough celebrates half-million mark in vaccine doses


TORONTO -- Karanjeet Singh rolled up his sleeve Monday for his first COVID-19 vaccine—and with the jab, the Scarborough Vaccine Team marked half a million doses administered.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase in our community’s engagement in this,” said Dr. Mayo Ravichandiran, the emergency room physician who administered the milestone shot.

“In Scarborough we saw the infection rates and positivity rates go from 27 per cent just three months ago in April, to now on par with the community, the Ontario average.”

At the height of the third wave of the virus, 16 of 17 Scarborough postal codes were designated COVID-19 hotspots, but vaccination rates have been a game-changer for hard-hit neighbourhoods.

But the clinic at the Centennial College progress campus, which has vaccinated an average of more than 1,400 people a day, will remain open for several months more as officials push to reach those who haven’t yet had one or both doses.

“Early on, the obstacles were of course getting the vaccine,” said Elizabeth Buller, CEO of the Scarborough Health Network. “And now of course the gap is people who still have concerns, fears about getting vaccinated.”

Ontario health officials reported 119 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, a slight dip from the previous few days.

But infectious disease expert Dr. Isaac Bogoch warned that case counts would likely rise again now that the province has re-opened more fully.

”There’s still millions and millions of Canadians who are unvaccinated. You can’t be surprised if you give this virus an opportunity to be transmitted, primarily in indoor settings, that it’s ultimately transmitted,” Bogoch said.