Ontario opens eligibility to receive COVID-19 booster

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By Nick Seebruch
Ontario opens eligibility to receive COVID-19 booster
Ontario Public Health Officer Dr. Kieran Moore.

ONTARIO – On Wednesday, Nov. 3, the province of Ontario announced that it would begin allowing residents to receive a COVID-19 booster shot if they have already received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Starting Nov. 6, those high risk individuals, seniors, those with pre-existing medical conditions, will be able to receive a COVID-19 booster, with the eligibility gradually expanding to include all individuals aged 12 and older.

Starting at 8 a.m., eligible Ontarians will be able to book a COVID-19 booster shot through the province’s COVID-19 vaccine online portal.

“Keeping a low rate of infection in our communities and protecting our most vulnerable is how we can keep our schools, businesses and social settings as safe as possible while avoiding further lockdowns,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “To provide every individual the best protection while learning to live with the virus for the long-term, we are prepared to expand booster eligibility to all Ontarians pending clinical recommendations, with eligibility expanding this week to individuals who face a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.”

The following individuals will be eligible to receive a booster if at least six months have passed since receiving their last dose:

  • Individuals aged 70 and over (born in 1951 or earlier);
  • Health care workers and designated essential caregivers in congregate settings (including long-term care home and retirement home staff and designated caregivers);
  • Individuals who received a complete series of a viral vector vaccine (two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine or one dose of the Janssen vaccine); and
  • First Nation, Inuit and Métis adults and their non-Indigenous household members.

“Ontario is continuing the success of our vaccine rollout by expanding eligibility for a booster shot based on age and risk,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “As we continue rolling out our Last Mile Strategy to vaccinate as many Ontarians as possible, providing an extra layer of protection starting with our most vulnerable is critical as we continue to safely reopen and manage COVID-19 for the long-term.”

The province did not provide a timeline for when other segments of the population will be allowed to receive boosters.

In a statement to the media, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) explained that individuals who have received two doses of the vaccine are fully protected.

“Receiving a third dose is recommended however is not urgent and not mandatory. A third dose will help to provide individuals in these groups with an improved immune response to prevent infection. Evidence continues to show that two doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine provide strong protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death. Individuals are still considered fully vaccinated with two doses,” the statement reads.

The EOHU went on to explain that a third dose could be especially useful for the elderly.

“Evidence shows that several months after receiving two mRNA COVID-19 vaccine doses, the immune response in the elderly population wanes compared to the general population. Emerging data also indicates that protection from infection decreases more quickly in individuals who received 2 doses of AstraZeneca or 1 dose of Janssen,” the EOHU statement goes on to read.

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