Beginning on Monday, Ontarians over 18 years of age will be able to book appointments to receive a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Premier Doug Ford announced the extended eligibility on Wednesday, citing an increase in cases and mounting worries about the Omicron variant.
According to a report released by Public Health Ontario on Wednesday, the Omicron variation is responsible for more than 80% of COVID-19 cases diagnosed in the province each day.
Given how quickly the Omicron variety is spreading, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieren Moore, advised Ontarians on Wednesday that a robust third dosage strategy is necessary.
On Friday, Ontario announced a reintroduction of past restrictions to combat the wave, including reduced capacity limits, new rules for select non-essential services and slashed gathering limits.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE THEIR BOOSTER DOSE IN ONTARIO?
Starting Monday at 8 a.m., everyone over the age of 18 in Ontairo will be able to book an appointment for a booster dose.
To receive your booster dose, at least three months will have to have passed since your second dose — an interval that was shortened from six months by Premier Doug Ford on Wednesday.
HOW DO I BOOK MY BOOSTER DOSE IN ONTARIO?
Residents can book their shot through the Ontario vaccine portal. If using this booking method, be prepared with a valid email address and a green photo health card.
If you don’t have these on hand, or would rather book an appointment using the phone, you can call the provincial vaccine contact centre at 1-833-943-3900.
Bookings can also be made directly through public health units that use their own booking systems, through Indigenous-led vaccination clinics, select pharmacies, and primary care settings.
WHAT PHARMACIES ARE OFFERING BOOSTER DOSES NEAR ME?
To find a pharmacy near you offering booster doses, search for your postal code here.
HOW LONG WILL I HAVE TO WAIT AT THE CLINIC/PHARMACY/FACILITY AFTER RECEIVING MY BOOSTER DOSE?
Due to the Omicron variant, Ontario has allowed for a temporary shortened recommended wait time after receiving a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Previously, patients were held for 15 minutes prior to receiving their dose, but that recommended interval has been shortened to five.
The government says the shortened wait time can be implemented if physical distancing cannot be maintained in waiting rooms and that the strategy will also allow more patients to be immunized in a given time period.
However, your post-shot wait time will be decided by the facility in which you receive your third dose, so residents should confirm how long they are expected to stay at the facility with staff.
ARE TWO OR THREE DOSES CONSIDERED FULLY VACCINATED NOW?
Presently, the term ‘fully vaccinated’ still refers to an individual who has received their two-dose primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine.
As more Ontarians become eligible for booster shots, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieren Moore said that discussions were underway in the province to potentially redefine what it means to be fully vaccinated – whether two doses or three doses qualifies.
“We certainly are encouraging all those that are eligible at present for the third dose to get theirs and we’ll be following the immune protection of a third dose against Omicron to understand what immunologically represents the best protection. That may change the definition of what is fully immunized,” Moore said.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I RECEIVED ASTRAZENECA FOR MY FIRST DOSE?
The Ontario government is currently recommending that anyone who received AstraZeneca as a first or second dose receive an mRNA vaccine for their booster dose.