Gen Z leading the pack as Toronto encourages people to get COVID-19 vaccine

More than 70 per cent of Toronto adults have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but Mayor John Tory says that's only more of a reason for the city to bolster its vaccination efforts.

Meanwhile, those in the 30 to 54 age range are falling behind on vaccinations, officials say

Medical officer Dr. Eileen de Villa is expected to provide a pandemic update in Toronto at 2 p.m. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Gen-Z Torontonians are leading the pack when it comes to rolling up their sleeves for a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while those ages 30 to 54 are lagging behind, officials say.

At a news conference Wednesday, Mayor John Tory said the 18 to 24 age group is "fast approaching the milestone of 80 per cent" when it comes to first doses.

Seventy six per cent of those ages 20 to 24 have received their first shots, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said. And nearly half of Toronto children between the ages of 12 and 17 have now received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

But while more than 70 per cent of Toronto adults have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, those in the 30 to 54 age range are falling behind.

On Wednesday, de Villa appealed directly to that group, saying: "This age group does a lot of the heavy lifting in daily life… We need you in good health."

"We're trying to find more and more ways in which we can get that first dose into people's arms," Tory said during a pandemic update briefing on Wednesday.

Toronto Fire Chief and head of Emergency Management Matthew Pegg appealed for people to keep their vaccine appointments at city clinics.

The province's seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases dropped below the 1,000 mark — the lowest it's been since last November. Only 173 new cases were reported in Toronto on Wednesday, the same day the provincewide stay-at-home order expired.

Wednesday also marked one week since the launch of the city's "VaxTO" campaign which sent 650,000 residents information about a telephone town hall happening Wednesday night. 

Starting at 6 p.m., the city is also hoping to help answer questions during a telephone town hall that aims to help people who have yet to receive their first dose book in.

Just the announcement for the town hall has led to nearly 5,000 people calling the provincial booking line, Tory said.

"Our work to get as many people vaccinated as possible is continuing."

There is also a phone line that people can text "VACCINE" to receive information about vaccines. The phone line is 1-833-750-0888.

So far, the city says they line has received around 1,000 text messages per day.

"We know the more information people have the more likely they are to get vaccinated," Tory said. "It's okay to have questions about vaccines and the process."

He said the percentage of people who are no-shows to scheduled appointments ranges from 1.8 per cent to 4.2 per cent.

However, Pegg said, the weekly average increased to three per cent last week.

Not showing up can delay the overall vaccine rollout, he stressed.