COVID-19 'Hunger Games' in Ontario: Residents say Ford failed as booster shot booking frenzy spreads, rapid test supply dwindles

·4 min read

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.

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.

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)

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