Ontarians over the age of 50 are now able to schedule their third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if its been over 6 months since their second dose.

“The message here is loud and clear. I’ll have my sleeve rolled up, because I’m convinced that it’s the right thing to do,” said Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford, in an interview with Q104 earlier today.

The province says they’ll further expand eligibility for booster doses based on age and risk, with an interval of six to eight months from the second dose, in the new year.

As of December 6, the Northwestern Health Unit says 90.1 per cent of residents received at least one dose of the vaccine; 85.7 per cent received two doses and 6.1 per cent have received their third dose of the vaccine.

“Northwestern Ontario has a really high vaccination rate, soaring at just over 90 per cent,” notes Rickford. “That’s helped to keep our COVID-19 positives extremely low. But province-wide, we’re creeping back up above 1,000 [cases].”

Ontario reported a total of 887 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the province’s total case count to 624,384. Of the 887 new cases, 373 were unvaccinated, 24 were partially vaccinated, 426 were fully vaccinated and vaccination status was unknown for the remaining 64.

In their catchment area, NWHU staff are reporting a total of 18 active COVID-19 cases. They include 6 in Dryden / Red Lake, 3 in Kenora, 2 in Rainy River and 7 in Sioux Lookout. There’s currently one hospitalization in the region due to the illness.

Rickford, who also serves as the Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, as well as Indigenous Affairs, is also reminding residents to get their flu shots as soon as possible as well, to help protect Ontario’s healthcare system throughout the winter months.