Grey Bruce Health Unit ready to work with partners for fourth dose

A public health nurse administers a COVID-19 vaccine. (File photo supplied by Southwestern Public Health)

The Grey Bruce Health Unit is collaborating with partners to ensure everyone who wants the COVID-19 vaccine, to get it as soon as possible.

The province announced this week that it is expanding eligibility and as of Thursday, individuals aged 60 and over as well as First Nation, Inuit and Métis individuals and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18 and over can receive a fourth dose.

“The Grey Bruce Health Unit will also be supporting First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities as well as individuals in high-risk sectors, such as long-term care homes, retirement homes and other congregate care settings, to roll out the availability of fourth-dose boosters,” said Grey-Bruce Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Arra.

The Grey Bruce Health Unit is now analyzing data on local demand and eligibility for fourth doses and collaborating with the Ministry of Health, local pharmacies and primary care providers to map out where the vaccination capacity is available. And if needed, the Grey Bruce Health Unit is ready to open up clinics to provide vaccines.

Fourth doses are already available to residents of congregate care settings, including long-term care and retirement homes, as well as those who are immunocompromised.

Immunocompromised individuals are strongly encouraged to speak with their treating health care provider regarding the timing of vaccination in relation to therapy for their underlying health condition and/or treatment modification in view of possible decreased vaccine effectiveness with the use of immunosuppressive therapy.

Expanding booster eligibility will provide an extra layer of protection against the Omicron and BA.2 variants of COVID-19.

All eligible Ontarians are encouraged to get their fourth dose as soon as possible.

“We all need to remember that the pandemic is not over and COVID-19 activity is increasing across the province. Getting a booster dose, if you are eligible, is very important as it remains the best defence against severe illness and death. This is especially the case for individuals who are considered high risk,” said Arra.