On Monday, Ontario's provincial booking system for COVID-19 booster shots opened to anyone 18 and older, but the flood of people trying to book an appointment has led to what some are calling a "Hunger Games" feat to get a third dose of a vaccine.
Booster dose appointments can be booked through the Ontario’s booking portal, by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre (1-833-943-3900), through Indigenous-led vaccination clinics, participating pharmacies and primary care settings.
when the booster booking system is harder to access than a sneaker drop it’s the same essential workers who can’t afford to stay online to book who will be working throughout the holidays with even higher risk now. this just one way how hunger games devours health equity.
— Andrew Baback Boozary MD (@drandrewb) December 20, 2021
Had we been proactive with booking 3rd doses in advance, which the @OntLiberal Party has been calling for for over a month, we wouldn’t (once again) be entering the vaccine hunger games on Monday. Those already eligible are struggling to find appointments as it is. #onpoli
— Tyler Watt 🇨🇦 (@tylerwatt90) December 16, 2021
me trying to get my booster in the hunger games ontario edition pic.twitter.com/AFaTG7N4ib
— queen priyanka - stream taste test (@thequeenpri) December 20, 2021
It is 8:15am and there are no more #boostershot appointments in #Ottawa. So here’s what we’ll do: Pregnant people, we will offer walk-in for #CovidVaccine today at our #Jabapalooza at TD Place, gate 2, 11am to noon. We’ve got you. Everyone else by appointment only - FULLY BOOKED. https://t.co/0w1Jy6MXMH
— Nili Kaplan-Myrth MD PhD (@nilikm) December 20, 2021
— A Girl Has No Name (@StopEdCuts) December 20, 2021
But that's not where this "Hunger Games" analogy ends. Many have also criticized how difficult it is for people in the province to get rapid antigen test kits.
Ontario already had to suffer through a version of the Hunger Games just to get vaccines.
So...Can someone please explain to me why the people of Ontario now have to also suffer through the Hunger Games: Rapid Test Edition?
— Naheed Dosani (@NaheedD) December 16, 2021
Welcome to Ontario, where rapid tests were withheld from the public for many months & then as Omicron surged, the government provided so little supply that the LCBO ran out in a day and people had to stand in long lineups for hours competing as if it were the Hunger Games.
— Dr. Amit Arya (@AmitAryaMD) December 18, 2021
For months, we begged for airborne protective masks/respirators, third doses of vaccines and rapid tests to be distributed adequately as supply was either available or could be scaled up accordingly. Now we play the Hunger Games again. This is cruel. @StevenDelDuca https://t.co/L73YYSpW53
— Danielle J. Cane 💉💉💉😷 (@deejcane) December 20, 2021
The chaotic rapid test Hunger Games disadvantaged those who are already marginalized and who need these tests the most. People who can’t work from home and surely can’t spend 6 hours on a work day (yesterday) to join the teeming masses competing for these tests. pic.twitter.com/oRBnmAw1vh
— Gabrielle Gallant (@G_Gallant) December 18, 2021
The way the province of Ontario adopted a Hunger Games approach to distribute rapid test kits, luring people to line up at pop-up stands in shopping malls and liquor stores instead of using our reliable mail delivery system so more folks can stay home, is really something #onpoli pic.twitter.com/cAJrzyqUbG
— Lisa Kramer (@LisaKramer) December 18, 2021
On Dec. 15, the Ontario government announced a "holiday testing blitz" with two million rapid tests available, for free, at pop-up sites like malls, retail settings, holiday markets, public libraries, transit hubs, and select LCBO stores, from December to mid-January.
The schedule for weekly rapid testing availability is posted on the provincial government's website, subject to availability. The site states that new locations will be posted on Fridays and on a rolling basis as they are confirmed.
Currently, from Dec. 21 to Dec. 24, tests will be available at the following locations:
Toronto: Yorkdale Mall and Union Station (everyday)
Mississauga: GO-VAXX - RioCan Grand Park (Dec. 21)
Brampton: Bramalea GO Station (Dec. 21), GO-VAXX - Trinity Common Brampton (Dec. 22)
Richmond Hill: Hillcrest Mall (Dec. 21)
Markham: Unionville GO Station (Dec. 22 and 23), GO-VAXX - Angus Glen Golf Club (Dec. 22)
Newmarket: Upper Canada Mall (Dec. 21 and 22)
Burlington: Burlington GO Station (Dec. 21)
Hamilton: GO-VAXX - Pat Quinn Parkdale Arena (Dec. 21 only)
Peterborough: Lansdowne Place – Entrance 1 Near Sport Check (Dec. 21, 22 and 23)
Windsor: Tecumseh Mall (everyday)
Ottawa/Nepean: Minto Barrhaven Recreation Centre (everyday)
Thunder Bay: Intercity Shopping Centre (Dec. 24 only)