MaRS hosting COVID-19 vaccination site for frontline workers

MaRS vaccination site

The University Health Network (UHN), a public research and teaching hospital network in Toronto, has opened a new COVID-19 vaccination site at the MaRS Discovery District.

The site is operational as of January 5 and is UHN’s second vaccination clinic providing a vaccine deployment site for frontline workers.

UHN said MaRS’ proximity to local hospitals and its large physical space made the innovation hub ideal for a vaccination site.

The location includes 18 vaccine stations in the MaRS Centre’s auditorium. The location is intended to vaccinate staff working in Toronto’s long-term care facilities as well as staff working in acute care hospitals that are run by UHN and within walking distance of the site. These facilities and hospitals include the UHN, Women’s College, SickKids, Mount Sinai and Toronto Grace Health Centre.

“MaRS is pleased to help deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to the people who need it most,” said Nina Gazzola, vice president of the MaRS Centre. “The MaRS Centre has been open throughout the pandemic, supporting our tenants, many of whom are actively involved in the fight against COVID-19.

“Our auditorium makes an excellent site for a vaccine clinic and our large atrium and common spaces enable visitors to flow safely through the buildings,” added Gazzola.

MaRS boasts 1.5 million square feet in downtown Toronto. The innovation hub is home to research and health institutions, such as Public Health Ontario, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, as well as academic research facilities for the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, and UHN.

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MaRS is also home to life sciences incubator and coworking space JLabs, which opened in 2016 and focuses on innovation in therapeutics, medical devices, healthtech, and consumer products.

UHN said MaRS’ proximity to local hospitals and its large physical space, which sits at 1.5 million square feet, made the innovation hub an ideal place for UHN to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine.

“COVID-19 vaccination clinics have very specific requirements for how people move through the space and observe the 15-minute wait period after receiving an injection,” added Kevin Smith, president and CEO of UHN.

“Thanks to the flexibility of the MaRS team, we’re able to make the swift changes required to deliver this vaccine to those who urgently need it,” Smith added.

This news comes on the heels of health experts in Ontario urging for a quicker vaccine rollout in the province. On Wednesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said his government is ramping up its vaccine rollout.

Image courtesy MaRS Discovery District.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.