Province expands booster dose eligibility

The Ontario government is expanding eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots.

Starting Monday, December 13, 2021, at 8 a.m. people 50 and over will be eligible to schedule their booster dose appointments. Third doses should be booked six months after a second dose.

“Regardless of what we learn about the Omicron variant, Ontario is prepared to quickly respond to any scenario to protect the health and safety of Ontarians,” said Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott. “Vaccines continue to be our best protection against COVID-19, and I encourage everyone to book their first, second or booster dose as soon as you are eligible.”

Individuals receiving dialysis are eligible to receive a third dose if it has been 56 days since their last dose. Those appointments can be booked immediately.  Also effective immediately, the province is recommending re-vaccination with a new COVID-19 vaccine primary series post-transplantation for individuals who receive hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT), hematopoietic cell transplants (HCT) (autologous or allogeneic), and recipients of CAR-T-cell therapy, due to the loss of immunity following therapy or transplant.

Starting in January, the government plans to further expand eligibility for booster doses based on age and risk with an interval of six to eight months from the second dose.

“If you are eligible for a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, please book your appointment as soon as you can to provide yourself with an extra layer of protection,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore. “If you have not yet received the vaccine, please do so today. This includes vaccinations for children aged five to 11. Achieving the highest vaccination rates possible remains our best tool to protect us, reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and fight the significant surge of new cases and the new Omicron variant.”

To date, 90 per cent of residents aged 12 and over have received one dose of a vaccine and 87 per cent have received both doses. More than 696,000 booster doses have been administered in the province.

According to the province, a limited supply of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine will also be available upon request starting Thursday. This is for people aged 18 and over who have an allergy or contraindication to mRNA vaccines.