CORNWALL, Ontario – The Ontario government, working alongside with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is taking action to further encourage Ontarians to get vaccinated to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.
Dr. Paul Roumeliotis was asked about the increase of the Omicron variant in Ontario on CTV News Ottawa on Monday, Dec. 13.
“Well, that doesn’t surprise me. We know that the variant grows very quickly, as a matter of fact we’re headed that way. I think that the variant will likely have taken over by the end December. That tells me that this virus spreads very easily, and we’re seeing that right now in a significant amount of cases across Ontario. I want to clarify a couple of things, at this point it seems this virus only causes mild disease, in other words not hospitalisation, and so far there has been no admission to hospitals for Omicron in Ontario… It does respond to the vaccine, but not as much as it does to Delta. For example, people who have two doses of the vaccine are at least 50% protected against getting it, but are 80% protected from going to the hospital.” said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis to CTV.
The province is adjusting its COVID-19 response in light of the evolving global evidence around the Omicron variant. This includes the following measures:
- Delaying the lifting of proof of vaccination requirements beyond January 17, 2022
- Effective January 4, 2022, requiring the use of the enhanced vaccine certificate with QR code and the Verify Ontario App (in settings where proof of vaccination is required). Individuals can download their enhanced certificate with QR code by visiting https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/.
- As of January 10, 2022, organizations and businesses that are under the provincial proof-of-vaccination system will be advised to no longer accept physician notes.
- Effective December 20, 2021, requiring proof of vaccination for youth aged 12 to 17 (in settings where proof of vaccination is required).
- On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontarians are strongly advised to limit their social gatherings and the number of gatherings they attend over the holiday season.
For more information on these measures visit https://news.ontario.ca/en/backgrounder/1001329/responding-to-omicron-and-protecting-our-progress.
In addition to those measures, the province is launching its enhanced winter testing strategy next week to offer voluntary rapid antigen screening to asymptomatic individuals free of charge. Two million rapid tests will be provided at pop-up testing sites in high-traffic settings such as malls, retail settings, holiday markets and transit hubs.
Starting on Monday, December 13, 2021, individuals aged 50 and over will be eligible to schedule their booster dose appointment, and eligibility for boosters will be available for Ontarians 18 years of age and older on January 4, 2022.
Dr. Paul Roumeliotis expressed the importance of the booster dose to fight against COVID-19 and Omicron.
“We’re now rolling out third doses to individuals, and I urge people to get their third dose as soon as they can, when they qualify 6 months, and 50+ years of age, and that will confer higher baseline protection to the Omicron. I think we do have a solution, and we’re in a much better position right now.” said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis on CTV News.
The COVID-19 vaccine remains the best protection against COVID-19 and its variants. Every eligible Ontarian is strongly recommended to get vaccinated or receive their booster if they are eligible as soon as possible.
For addition resources visit the following:
- Responding to Omicron and Protecting Our Progress
- Ontario Extending Pause on Lifting Capacity Limits in Remaining Settings Where Proof of Vaccination is Required
- Ontario Accelerating Booster Eligibility to Adults Aged 50+
- Ontario Releases Plan to Safely Reopen Ontario and Manage COVID-19 for the Long-Term
- Using your Enhanced Vaccine Certificate: Frequently Asked Questions
- For public inquiries, please contact the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 (TTY for people who are deaf, hearing-impaired or speech-impaired: 1-866-797-0007).
- For resources in multiple languages to help local communication efforts in responding to COVID-19, visit Ontario’s COVID-19 communication resources webpage.
- Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect the people of Ontario from COVID-19.