Toronto strip club offers COVID boosters to underserved residents

Despite the winter weather, a lineup snaked along Dundas Street East Monday as hundreds waited to receive their COVID-19 booster shots inside the Filmore strip bar before the dancers took the stage.

Recorded music was played as people removed their outerwear and rolled up their sleeves for a Moderna or Pfizer booster shot at makeshift vaccination stations. The main stage within the “Toronto Party Venue” was turned into an aftercare area.

The emerging low-barrier vaccination clinic, the result of a partnership between sex work advocacy organization Maggie’s, Filmore’s Gentleman’s Club, and the University Health Network, targeted underserved people who face difficulties accessing vaccines.

They include “people who may not be able to navigate the online system, people who do not have ID, OHIP cards or even any proof of address or documentation,” explained Ellie Adekur, one of Maggie’s representatives on site Monday at the Centrally located, family-run location between Jarvis and Sherbourne streets.

Adekur added that there has never been a greater urgency to receive injections in the arms, noting that Ontario set a new daily record for COVID-19 cases, surpassing 10,000 for the first time over the weekend. At the same time, the vaccine implementation plan is leaving “the most marginalized” behind.

Maggie chose Filmore’s in response to disparaging comments about those places operating during the pandemic, Adekur explained.

In 2020, after COVID-19 outbreaks at an adult entertainment venue, Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford joked that he felt sorry for people who had to tell their spouses that they had visited one. “I wouldn’t want to be at the end of that one,” Ford said at the time.

Noting that Maggie’s has been doing public health work on the eastern edge of downtown Toronto since 1986, Adekur said that “we chose these places to reject the stigma that comes from our political leaders, but also to highlight the work that we are already doing. to ensure that people have access to supplies for drug use and safe sex, public health responses throughout the pandemic. “

Another clinic of this type will operate next Monday between 10 a.m. M. And 6 p.m. M. In Zanzibar on Yonge Street.

Andrew Baback Boozary, Toronto Physician tweeted On Monday Maggie and Filmores “have been true leaders throughout, setting vaccine requirements before it was provincial policy” and “here they are leading again, with a community low-barrier vaccine clinic.” Last summer, Filmore’s announced that it would deny entry to unvaccinated customers.

Ontario reported another 9,418 COVID-19 cases on Monday, a slight drop from the 10,412 COVID-19 cases reported on Christmas Day and 9,826 infections on December 26.

Health Minister Christine Elliott tweeted that 90.7 percent of Ontarians ages 12 and older have received one dose and 88 percent have received two doses.

Elliott said there are currently 480 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the province and 176 patients in intensive care.

According to Public Health Ontario Weekly epidemiological survey released on December 24, one death has been reported among the province’s Omicron cases. Public Health Ontario did not respond to Star’s request for more details. The epidemiological survey includes information as of December 22.

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