ONTARIO – The province of Ontario announced on Wednesday, Dec. 15 that it was taking further steps to fight the emerging Omicron variant of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we combat the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant, nothing matters more than getting these booster doses into people’s arms” said Premier Doug Ford. “I am issuing a call to arms. We need every member of Team Ontario to stand tall and do their part as we work to protect our hard-fought progress and keep Ontarians safe.”
As a part of that effort, the province moved up eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, the so-called third dose.
Individuals 18 and older who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to book their third dose booster shot as of Monday, Dec. 20.
Vaccination appointments can be booked through the Ontario vaccination booking portal, or by getting the vaccine at participating pharmacies or other healthcare providers.
“As we continue to learn more about the Omicron variant, we need all hands on deck to help limit transmission and protect our hospital capacity,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “A third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine offers additional protection against the Omicron variant, and I urge everyone to get their booster dose as soon as you can. If you haven’t received your first or second dose of the vaccine, now is the time.”
Other steps the province is taking to combat the spread of the Omicron variant includes placing capacity restrictions on large event venue spaces. As of 12:01 a.m. Dec. 18, venues with a normal capacity of 1,000 guests will be limited to 50 per cent capacity.
The province will also be conducting a COVID-19 testing blitz over the December holiday break by holding free testing pop-up clinics throughout the province and also by making free COVID-19 tests available at some LCBOs.
Visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/pop-up-holiday-schedule-rapid-antigen-tests for more information about locations of COVID-19 testing pop-up locations and participating LCBO locations.
“Working with local health partners, community organizations, and businesses, we are bringing free rapid testing directly to Ontarians during the holiday season by deploying pop-up teams in priority areas,” said Elliott. “Rapid antigen screening is an additional layer of protection to proactively identify cases and mitigate community transmission, while we continue to strengthen our vaccine rollout to protect ourselves and loved ones.”