Fourth vaccine dose offered to those over 60

96-year-old John Percival receives his first dose of Pfizer vaccine from RPN Kristin Persichetti. Mar. 6, 2021 (BlackburnNews.com photo by Stephanie Chaves)

As of 8 a.m. on Thursday, Ontario residents over 60 can book an appointment to get their fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The province has offered it to those living in long-term care homes and other vulnerable populations since December 30, but this is the first time it will be available to a cohort of the general public.

It’ll also be offered to First Nations, Metis, and Inuit individuals and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18 and older.

“We are using every tool available to manage this virus and reduce its impact on our hospitals and health system,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott. “Vaccines are our best defence against COVID-19 and its variants.”

Elliott noted Ontario has one of the lowest hospitalization rates in the country right now, in part due to its high vaccination rate. While the number of cases in Ontario hospitals has edged up over the past few weeks, hospitals are not overwhelmed, and government officials do not anticipate re-introducing public health measures.

Those who qualify can call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 or contact their local health unit.

As of Tuesday, Ontario had administered over 32-million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. More than 92 per cent of those over 12 have had at least one shot, and 91 percent have had the second. Booster shot coverage stands at 55 per cent.