Faith leaders roll up their sleeves for their community

Imam Muhammad Kamruzzaman of the Baithul Aman Mosque got vaccinated because he wants to keep himself and others safe.

Earlier this month, in collaboration with Michael Garron Hospital and other East Toronto Health Partners, WoodGreen ran a COVID-19 vaccination pop up clinic in Crescent Town Health Centre.

The vaccine eligibility was expanded to include faith leaders, and Imam Muhammad Kamruzzaman was joined by Reverend Wayne Walder was joined by of the Neighbourhood Unitarian Congregation and Imam Irshad Osman of the Danforth Islamic Centre.

“(I got vaccinated because) I thought it would be a good way to really tell others that this vaccine is safe and, socially, that it’s a good thing to do,” said Reverend Wayne Walder of the Neighbourhood Unitarian Congregation.

Since December, the East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP), the Ontario Health Team (OHT) serving East Toronto, has been deployed to more than 90 high-risk long-term care homes, retirement homes, shelters and seniors congregate buildings across East Toronto. They have also administered vaccines at pop-up clinics at primary care offices.

In April, the team began administering vaccines on-site at select high-rise apartment buildings and pop up clinics in high-risk neighbourhoods in an effort to offer residents low-barrier access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

The ETHP reminds the public that:

  • Vaccines are safe and effective and, in addition to handwashing, PPE and physical distancing, are an important way to protect yourself, your family, and your community from serious illnesses like COVID-19.
  • Getting vaccinated also protects those around you, especially individuals who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 infection.
  • All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in Canada have been proven to be highly effective at preventing negative outcomes associated with COVID-19.
  • The best vaccine is the vaccine that is available to you, especially as new COVID-19 variants emerge in Ontario that are vaccine preventable. Postponing vaccination poses a much greater risk to health than any small differences between vaccines.
  • The province of Ontario is following recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization to extend the time interval of the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines up to 16 weeks. This directive optimizes population protection in Canada by allowing more individuals to get their first dose.

ETHP has developed materials to help our member organizations, clients and community members make confident and educated decisions about the COVID-19 vaccine. If you have questions or concerns about the vaccine, or are interested in promoting vaccine confidence in your community, we encourage you to learn more here.

Have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine? East Toronto Health Partners has answers.

Join us on Tuesday, April 20 at 6 p.m. to hear from trusted health leaders in East Toronto about the COVID-19 vaccine. The event is free and open to all. However, you must register at Once registered, you will receive details on how to participate online or by telephone.

You will also have the opportunity to ask our expert panel your questions, either submitted in advance or during the event.

During the event, you’ll hear from Dr. Jeff Powis, medical director of infection prevention and control at Michael Garron Hospital; Dr. Karen Chu, family physician and member of East Toronto Family Practice Network; and Sohelia Bonhi, community outreach worker at The Neighbourhood Group. The event is moderated by Dr. Kathryn Nichol, president and CEO of VHA Home HealthCare.

We will also outline what populations are currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and where and how these individuals may receive the vaccine.

This event is part of a monthly Q&A series on the COVID-19 vaccine organized by the ETHP, the Ontario Health Team serving East Toronto. We look forward to answering your questions and helping build vaccine confidence in our communities!

Register today!