By all accounts, the Toronto Vaccine Day clinic at Scotiabank Arena on Sunday was both efficient and celebratory. Participants told media there was a sense that the city was closing in on the end of the road as so many Torontonians snaked round the building, waiting for their shot at being fully vaccinated.
By the end of the day, preliminary counts showed 26,771 Torontonians got their “winning shot” at the clinic, a number believed to be a world record for the most one-day COVID-19 vaccinations given at a single clinic. Of those vaccinated, 981 were first doses and 25,793 second doses given to 25,476 adults and 1,295 youth at an average rate of nearly 30 vaccinations every minute.
Visiting the clinic ahead of Sunday, Toronto Mayor John Tory acknowledged that while a world record is something to celebrate, the real prize is the protection people, their families and communities now have against COVID-19.
The “Our Winning Shot” clinic was pulled together in eight days through a collaboration between the City, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), Scotiabank, University Health Network (UHN) and Michael Garron Hospital, with the help of nearly 1,500 staff and volunteers — 127 Scotiabank employees among them.
“It was amazing to be volunteering with passionate teammates from Scotiabank and these other great organizations from across Toronto,” said Scott Gamble, Scotiabank Senior Vice President, Toronto Region, Canadian Banking, who was at the clinic Sunday on behalf of the Bank. “The atmosphere was electric, the logistics of this event were impressive, and everyone was so happy to take part in this important step to ending the COVID-19 pandemic. It made me proud to be part of team Scotia.”
Those who lined up for a shot found the relatively short wait less onerous thanks to Kiss 92.5’s DJ Clymaxxx and Breakfast Television’s Devo Brown, as well as visits from Carlton the Bear and the Raptor, and for 50 vaccine recipients a pair of Toronto Maple Leaf or Toronto Raptor tickets for an upcoming game.
“Stunning is the only word to describe Toronto Vaccine Day,” Kevin Smith, President and CEO, UHN, said in a statement. “To vaccinate 25,000 people, set a world record and work so effectively with the City of Toronto, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Scotiabank, Scotiabank Arena, Michael Garron Hospital and the vaccine teams from hospitals and community agencies across the city is a demonstration of cooperation and support for the citizens of this city.”
His sentiments were echoed by Michael Friisdahl, President and CEO of MLSE: “This record setting vaccination clinic is another important example of partners coming together to help our community overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, but more importantly, of the caring spirit of this community as they responded so emphatically to the opportunity to take their shot to protect themselves and each other.”
Brian Porter, Scotiabank's President and CEO, offered his heartfelt thanks to all of the volunteers and organizations that partnered with the Bank on Toronto Vaccine Day.
“Defeating the virus requires that we work together as a team, while also doing our part by getting our shots. I’m more hopeful than ever that the next time Scotiabank Arena has 25,000 people move through its doors, they will be fans, cheering on the Leafs and Raptors.”
More than 35% of Torontonians now have their second dose of vaccine, which is vital in fighting the Delta variant (B.1.617.2). The strain is more infectious than other variants of the virus and is on track to become the dominant one in the greater Toronto region this summer. Recent studies have shown that two weeks after the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, a person’s protection against the Delta variant is 50% greater than one dose alone. As of June 28, all adults in Ontario are eligible for an accelerated second dose of vaccine.