Toronto calls in the superheroes to help with vaccinating young children against COVID-19. Photo: Tannen Maury
On Monday, Toronto launched a “mega-pilot” of a new program that’s designed to curb COVID-19. It’s part of a nationwide response, and it involves a huge apparatus of superheroes.
“We’re hoping to get about 1,500 kids vaccinated this year,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, announcing the pilot at an emergency news conference Monday afternoon at the city’s downtown library.
“To really make a meaningful impact, we’re going to need to get people involved,” she said.
For the last year, Russell’s team has been studying the impact of a different strategy to fight the virus, one she calls “mass vaccination” (the main body of work on mass immunizations is here). A meta-analysis conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration has found that mass vaccination is more effective than mass immunization.
Mass vaccine programs, which are typically run by hospitals or other health clinics, are now happening all over the world, often as part of an emergency that comes after a major outbreak. They are typically implemented in large urban centers, where people work and socialize and where there is a high density of vaccines — or a high density of people who have some idea that someone has already gotten immune.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health for Toronto, is among those heroes trying to get more kids vaccinated for the coronavirus. Photo: John Rieti
“I think it’s important to really remind ourselves that in this pandemic, with the capacity of the world to do mass immunizations, that’s really where we need to focus our efforts,” Russell said at a news conference outside Toronto’s downtown library.