Volunteers step forward as U of T hosts downtown vaccine clinic on St. George campus

This time last year, Upasana Saha was planning to transform an art gallery at Mount Sinai Hospital into a COVID-19 assessment centre where patients could be tested for a new and dangerous disease.

One year later, Saha is part of a team that laid the groundwork for a Toronto Public Health-approved vaccine clinic housed in the University of Toronto’s Exam Centre.

Launched last week, the clinic is being operated by the University Health Network (UHN), with significant participation by Sinai Health and U of T. It operates by appointment only and follows the vaccine priority schedule and ethical guidelines established by the province.

A senior manager at Sinai Health and PhD candidate at U of T’s Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Saha says the mood at the clinic is much more upbeat compared to last year’s assessment centre.

“In those early days we didn’t know too much about COVID-19 and how it spread,” Saha said. “There was high anxiety and a lot of nerves. Now that we’re vaccinating against a disease we learned about just over a year ago, the atmosphere is so much brighter.”