Published Friday, April 30, 2021 1:13PM EDT
An OHIP card has never been a requirement to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at Toronto’s mass vaccination clinics but individuals without one had previously found themselves unable to actually book appointments because agents at the provincial call centre requested one.
A valid OHIP number was also a requirement for those booking appointments through the province’s online portal.
This, in turn, prompted concerns about undocumented residents and other vulnerable populations being effectively shut out from receiving COVID-19 vaccines at city clinics, even as the city struggled to fill some available appointments in the early days of the vaccine rollout.
However in a news release issued on Friday, the city said announced that it has now partnered with several community agencies on a workaround for those without OHIP cards.
It says that starting today anyone who meets the eligibility requirements to receive a vaccine can contact the FCJ Refugee Centre or Access Alliance to book an appointment using alternative forms of identification, including driver’s licenses and health cards from other jurisdictions and countries.
“COVID-19 doesn’t care if you have an OHIP card or not. This virus can infect anyone and then can be spread to anyone else they come in contact with,” Mayor John Tory said in a press release. “We are doing everything we can as a city government to get every person who lives in Toronto vaccinated. This is one more way we are ensuring that all our residents will have access to the vaccine so that we can all get vaccinated and bring this pandemic to an end.”
The city says that individuals without OHIP cards can also book appointments to receive a vaccine at clinics operated by hospital and community partners.