The woman who got the first of Toronto’s 3 million COVID-19 vaccinations is trying to boost that number every day


Back in mid-December Toronto personal support worker Anita Quidangen bared the top of her left arm, closed her eyes and — amid a flurry of news camera clicks — became the first Ontarian vaccinated against COVID-19.

Six months later, more than three million needles have injected vaccine into arms in Toronto alone. They include a second dose for Quidangen, who is still urging hesitant friends to protect themselves and help end the global pandemic.

“Some of them are scared but I told them ‘Don’t be scared, I had the vaccine and I’m still OK,’” the soft-spoken staff member at a Rekai Centres seniors home told the Star this week, noting she suffered only a sore arm after her second jab.

Asked how she feels about all the injections that followed — Quidangen got dose number two of more than 33 million, and counting, in Canada — she says: “I’m so grateful for the first vaccine and I hope that more people will do it so (the vaccination rate) will be 100 per cent.”

That likely won’t happen but Toronto is getting closer, and it can’t happen soon enough given the threat posed by the highly contagious Delta virus variant.

Three-quarters of Torontonians have at least one dose and about a third are fully vaccinated.

That second-dose number in particular is set to rise sharply thanks to supply and huge demand.

Tuesday saw a Toronto record for most doses — 16,592 — administered by city clinics and mobile teams. In just over two days, 25,000 people grabbed spots just at Sunday’s massive pop-up at Scotiabank Arena.