Trouble booking Second Vaccine in Toronto - CLL Support

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Trouble booking Second Vaccine in Toronto

Par3 profile image
Par3

I live in Toronto and had my first Pfizer covid vaccine shot 3 weeks ago. I am eligible to get my second booster shot now as I have a letter from my Oncologist because I have CLL. Unfortunately the Toronto booking platform goes through the Ontario booking system and it doesn't allow any changes to booking a second dose earlier than 4 months. I know some people in other areas of Ontario who been able to book their second dose earlier but they are on a independent booking system. Any help out there who to contact in Toronto to book an earlier second dose. Thanks.

36 Replies

Maybe you can visit a vaccination site with your paperwork and explain the problem if no one has a better idea. Good luck!

Vizilo profile image
Vizilo in reply to HopeME

Unfortunately, in Ontario, if you visit a vaccination site without an appointment, you’re turned away. There are now pop-up vaccination sites in the Toronto area in “hot zones” with no appointments necessary, but as I understand it, these are for first shots only.

I live in the Niagara region and have the same issues but with the added complication that my primary cll specialist is in Toronto. Can’t get my second vaccine in Toronto because I don’t live there. Can’t get an early second vaccine in Niagara because the physician prescribing active treatment is in Toronto.

My suggestion is to keep phoning around. I phoned around until I finally found an individual at St Catharines Hospital who was willing to help and I have been promised a second appointment within the week.

I would start with your oncologist’s office and see if they can help. Also, call the hospital where your oncologist has privileges. I know some hospitals in Toronto book their own shots for residents of their own area (eg. Sunnybrook vaccinates North Toronto residents). So, I would also call the hospital in your own area. I find that with everything else cll’ers have to advocate for themselves. As they used to say, “the squeaky wheel gets oiled”.

Good luck!!

Par3 profile image
Par3 in reply to Vizilo

Thanks, will try all these options. I emailed Toronto Public Health as well, but so far no response.

leopardo profile image
leopardo in reply to Vizilo

Please explain to me again why it’s necessary or at least a very good idea to get both COVID-19 shots as CLL patients sooner than at the end of four months that most of us are now being given in Canada. I am certainly willing to wait my turn.

Loves2walk profile image
Loves2walk in reply to leopardo

I too would like help with this. I’m so confused!

Rosiehiker profile image
Rosiehiker in reply to leopardo

I don't know if necessary or not..why I am asking.Blood cancers and covid have not been a good mix. I saw studies that showed watch and wait as bad as those in treatment.

I don't know what the correct answer is..if not in more jeopardy I am very content to wait the 16 weeks

There is usually a phone number to call if registering is a problem.Use that to negotiate using the risk group you are in. PMH has sent an email outlining the risk groups to all its cancer patients that you can use.

Hospital registration sites are more successful but government registration sites should also have a contact person to use. I know several people who have had success with this.

Hello I live in Ontario and had my first shot of Moderna 2 weeks ago and my 2nd us booked for the 16 weeks out. I was told at the clinic by the Dr who administered the shot I was only eligible for earlier if I was in active treatment and I am watch and wait.Wondering if all that responded are in active treatment?

Thank you

leopardo profile image
leopardo in reply to Rosiehiker

Please explain to me again why it’s necessary or at least a very good idea to get both COVID-19 shots as CLL patients sooner than within the four months that most of us are now being given in Canada. I am certainly willing to wait my turn.

I am not currently in active treatment/Odette Cancer center, Sunnybrook hospital, Toronto Ontario.

Vizilo profile image
Vizilo in reply to Rosiehiker

The Ontario government exception to the 16 week wait for a second shot was issued to apply only to people with blood cancers in active treatment. I am in active treatment (Acalabrutinib) and I have been told that the only way to get the second vaccine earlier is to have your oncologist or family physician provide this in writing to the vaccine authority.

I live in Oakville which is in the Halton region, I had the same situation. All regions have a number to call if no computer access, I would call that number or 311. I did that and was able to book my second shot the next day. Good LuckLeo

Par3 profile image
Par3 in reply to laldoroty

I did call 311 and they had no solutions for me. I sent an email into Toronto Public Health. No response. I'm going to try phoning into local hospitals. Last time I talked to Sunnybrook, where I got my letter for earlier second dose and where my Oncologist is at, they believed I had to go back to where I got my first shot. It was at Toronto Convention Centre. Got the Pfizer vaccine.

laldoroty profile image
laldoroty in reply to Par3

Try calling 1-833-943-3900 you may have to wait to speak to someone.

Have you tried calling independent pharmacies? I’m from York region and had my first AstraZeneca dose one month ago in Toronto at a clinic. They gave me an appt for the second dose four months later. A few days ago, I called an independent pharmacy in York region and the pharmacist said as long as I have supporting documents of CLL current treatment, I could get the second dose. I opted to wait until 3 months after the first dose for efficacy purposes.

Loves2walk profile image
Loves2walk in reply to 5959

May I ask if you have had treatment or or W&W? I seem to be doing the research on behalf of my husband, lol

Vizilo profile image
Vizilo in reply to Loves2walk

The shortened period in Ontario is only people who are being actively treated for cll. Unfortunately, people in w&w will have to wait the 16 weeks between shots

Loves2walk profile image
Loves2walk in reply to Vizilo

Thank you! I didn’t want to have to bother the Drs for info unless needed. This is the most informative site! Thanks again.

My GP filled the form for me and there was a phone # for me to call. After a loooooong wait I did get to talk to a person and I am having second shot at our local hospital in Oakville tomorrow, exactly 3 weeks after first.

I would suggest, asking your GP and your local hospital for help. They should not make it so difficult for us to get help we need. How about trying other regions, does it have to be Toronto?

The best of luck 🤞🏻

Dana

Par3 profile image
Par3 in reply to studebaker

Thanks, I will try a few of these options tomorrow. I am at exactly 3 weeks today.

Please call this number 1-833-943-3900 for special consideration.I am in identical situation and have a letter from my hematologist.

Was told my position is being escalated and I should receive the second vaccination within 26 days from the first.

Will next next week.

Good luck.

Ken

Par3 profile image
Par3 in reply to ken3015

Bingo! Thanks Ken, I called the number and they have just started to make available an earlier 2nd vaccine dose. They will contact me to book the jab. This site is great, thanks to all who responded.

Murphy63 profile image
Murphy63 in reply to Par3

Hi Par3, I just called the number and they said I have to bring a letter to the appt in order to change the booking for the second dose. They can’t do anything over the phone. Just curious what you said, or they said specifically to initiate them calling you back to move up your appt. Thanks in advance.

Ken3015, were you able to book the 26 day appointment by just calling the number and explaining your situation? I called my oncologist in Hamilton on Friday and they said they are not writing letters, and special consideration is only for transplant patients in Ontario right now. They are actively lobbying the government to change the policy for blood cancer patients but no change so far.

Par3 profile image
Par3 in reply to Murphy63

Murphy, I got my letter from my Oncologist at Sunnybrook. It reads you should receive the second dose within the approved 3-4 week period. For people with malignant hematological conditions undergoing active treatment.

ken3015 profile image
ken3015 in reply to Par3

Yes just and explain your situation.A letter from oncologist or hematologist is great help.

Good luck.

Ken

Murphy63 profile image
Murphy63 in reply to ken3015

I just called the number, they said they can’t do anything without a letter and only at the time of my first dose.

I would try again. This is all new. I've had people who weren't very helpful. Today I got someone who know what they were doing. Be persistent. This is brand new, so explain your situation. They will send a notification to the Ontario Vaccination Central command and they will get back to you. You will need a letter from your oncologist, but I think only when you go for your shot.

Murphy63 profile image
Murphy63 in reply to Par3

Thanks. I’ll give that a try!

bkoffman profile image
bkoffmanCLL CURE Hero

I am working through CLL Society, CLL Canada and the CML community to bring awareness to this issue across Canada and tomorrow will be interviewed for the National Post. I am still licensed to practice medicine in Ontario, but am retired in California. Apparently they had trouble finding an active Canadian doctor willing to speak with the press. PLEASE send me your stories, especially the frustrating and desperate ones and any ones from other provinces, through a private message or in this tread so I can use them to make this more real for the reporter. Thanks

Par3 profile image
Par3 in reply to bkoffman

Hi Brian, I wish I could give you something that was more newsworthy. My own experience has been good with the vaccine rollout. When my age came up I was able to book my appt the next day. I was vaccinated by a Dr at a mass vaccination site at the convention centre in downtown Toronto. She took copious notes about me and about getting an earlier vaccine than the 4 month allowed. When the provincial gov't allowed second doses for certain cancers to be moved up to the 3-4 week interval I was able to get a letter from my Oncologist at Sunnybrook immediately. The only problem I had was in booking the change with the Ontario gov't booking platform. It took a number of days to get the system updated to allow this and with a little help from someone on this blog i was successful in getting my request in. So a little frustrating for a few days but in the end, it worked out. Most people envolved with the vaccination booking system in Ontario have been courteous and professional. I am waiting for a booking reply but I should be in line for a 26 day second dose.

Rosiehiker profile image
Rosiehiker in reply to bkoffman

Studies show that individuals with CLL in both watch and wait and active treatment have more severe outcomes when they contract covid. Given that I don't understand why CLLers in watch and wait aren't also getting a 2nd dose sooner than the 16 weeks.

Excited then deflated...not eligible....I had my first Pfizer vaccine on March 1st, was to have my second shot on April 5th; this was rescheduled to wait four months due to new vaccine rules. I called my local Ontario Windsor Essex county Health Unit today to request it sooner as a high priority due to the hematological condition CLL. The worker said I qualified and booked me to receive this in four days, however called me back shortyly after, apologizing and stating his supervisor informed him that I would be turned away. The reason given, was that only those waiting for a transplant would be eligible. Disappointed and hoping the rules change; our area is a hot spot for covid.

Bchh profile image
Bchh in reply to Kagama

Same story for me. W&W. First shot Feb 17th, second booked for March 24th and they cancelled it, now rebooked for June 9. It’s confusing and concerning in Ontario.

We live outside Toronto and just called our Juravinski Covid nurse today who reiterated that only patients receiving treatment at this time can get the 2nd shot earlier and that W&W patients don’t qualify. Very disappointing.

halton.ca/getmedia/f64f4d86...

One of the issues is that you must get your second dose at the same place/clinic/hospital where you got your first dose. Secondly, you must currently receive treatment, e.g. chemo or oral meds. The policy for reduced wait times for the second dose for certain groups was announced by the provincial government on march 29. Among others, people with malignant hematological conditions undergoing active treatment can get dose 2 after the manufacturer's recommended 21 or 28 day interval. Keep calling and bugging whoever needs to be reminded of this policy change. The squeaky wheel and all that.

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