Low-vaccinated, but is Taylor-Massey high priority?

East York neighbourhood has lowest vaccination rate in the city

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With Toronto on the verge of launching a massive weekend blitz targeting six neighbourhoods with low vaccination rates, the east-end community with the city’s lowest vaccination rate is not on that list.

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In Taylor-Massey, near Victoria Park and Danforth, only 56.9% of adults are vaccinated according to data from the city’s neighbourhood map.

Only 39.7% adults have completed both vaccinations.

The city-wide number is 51%.

People who live in the area can only guess why their neighbourhood’s numbers are so low.

“It might be that maybe a few people are set in their ways I guess,” said Jesse Hale as he walked his dog Wilson in Dentonia Park.

There have been opportunities for locals to get the jab.

“There was a big turnout at Crescent town school,” Hale said of a recent pop-up clinic June 24.

“Big turnout for that.”

Brad Bradford, City Councillor for Beaches-East York — which includes Taylor-Massey — said “we’ve been taking extraordinary steps to get the vaccine information out to residents in these areas.

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“Obviously we have a lot of work to do when you see the vaccination rate on first dose compared to the rest of the city.”

But that part of the city has not yet made the list in a campaign the city is calling the “Home Stretch”.

Mayor John Tory announced the initiative Wednesday as an effort launching 12 community clinics in 6 priority areas in the North West:  Elms – Old Rexdale, Kingsview Village–The Westway, Mount Dennis, Mount Olive-Silverstone-Jamestown, Weston, and Englemount-Lawrence.

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“This one-week, micro-targeted vaccine push will help us increase vaccine uptake in a part of the city with currently low vaccination rates,” the mayor said.

There are many reasons, they mayor pointed out, for low vaccination in some pockets, including barriers such as lack of information, access, time, and trust.

Trust is what Toronto’s Medical Officer Dr. Eileen De Villa also highlighted during that same announcement.

“There has also been some historical mistrust of healthcare and I think we have to be very honest and candid about that,” Dr. De Villa said.

Long-time Taylor-Massey resident Hale — who said he has received both doses — guesses some of his neighbours still need convincing when it comes to the vaccine.

“Maybe they’re afraid of it or they don’t trust it,” he said.

“There are a lot of people that are set in their ways.  They don’t like the government.”

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