Fourth doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be available tomorrow for anyone over the age of 18, as the province confirms we’re fighting the seventh wave of the ongoing pandemic.
In a virtual media briefing today, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, announced that those aged 18 to 59 will be eligible for the second booster dose as long as it’s been five months since your third booster and at least three months since your last COVID-19 infection.
“Staying up to date on vaccination is the best protection against severe outcomes from COVID-19,” says Dr. Moore. “Healthy, currently vaccinated individuals continue to have significant protection against severe disease even six months after the last dose.”
“However, there may be individuals with personal or medical circumstances in those age groups who may benefit from additional protection of a second booster. We want all Ontarians to have a safe and enjoyable summer.”
Moore says this wave is being driven by the BA.5 subvariant of Omicron, itself a variant of the original strain of COVID-19, and BA.5 has been the dominant strain in the province since mid-June.
Although, Moore says this wave has a slower trajectory than previous waves and he expects cases to peak in the next two weeks. Because of this, Moore says Ontario has no plans for any further public health measures or the return of mask mandates.
“Expanding eligibility to second booster doses and providing continued access to testing will empower Ontarians to make the best decisions for their circumstances and help keep our communities safe,” adds Dr. Moore.
Ontario adds they plan to continue to provide free rapid antigen tests through grocery stores and pharmacies, schools, hospitals and long-term care homes until December 31, 2022.
Fourth doses of the vaccine will be made available at pharmacies, primary care clinics and your local public health units.
Eligible individuals can book an appointment through the COVID-19 vaccination portal, by calling the Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900, through the Northwestern Health Unit or through participating pharmacies.
As well, Moore explains that a new bivalent COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be approved by Health Canada this fall, which may offer more targeted protection against Omicron variants like BA.5.