Published in El Pais, 4 July 2021.
On the 27th of June my city, Toronto, broke the record for most vaccinations in an event in North America with over 26,000 vaccines administered. What makes this story so interesting is not the impressive numbers but how they accomplished it, as the results can most easily be duplicated in cities around the world, especially those having trouble convincing their population to get the shot. Here are what I feel are the key takeaways from this event.
- Have fun with it. The event was not just held anywhere. It was held in a major sporting arena that is home to two of the most popular sports teams in the city, hockey’s Toronto Maple Leafs and basketball’s Toronto Raptors. Fans were excited to step foot onto the same floor as their favourite athletes as they dressed up in jerseys and fan paraphernalia to get the shot. Why not copy this model and have events at a local stadium so their fans can get just as excited?
- A major venue. One cannot expect to inoculate such many people in a small clinic, on top of having the lure of an exciting sporting venue it is large enough to have many safe individuals administer vaccinations.
- Major Sponsors. Having your local sports team and television personalities helps spread the word fast. There were prizes to be won and all the media was able to share the news quickly. Once word got out about the event the appointments were booked instantly so they added an additional 2000 walk in appointments to accommodate more people.
The vaccine is a key tool in fighting the pandemic, but many have some concerns and are on the fence on whether to get the shot. Having a fun event like this will have them warm up to it.