With Omicron nipping at our heels, the Government of Ontario announced on Thursday that eligibility for third shots, the booster dose, of the COVID-19 vaccine for people age 50 and over will be starting on Monday December 13. While the full effects of the new variant, both in terms of severity and contagiousness, are not yet known, the Chief Medical Officer of Health is recommending boosters to help build immunity just in case.
“If you are eligible for a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, please book your appointment as soon as you can to provide yourself with an extra layer of protection,” said Dr. Kieran Moore in a statement. “If you have not yet received the vaccine, please do so today. This includes vaccinations for children aged five to 11. Achieving the highest vaccination rates possible remains our best tool to protect us, reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and fight the significant surge of new cases and the new Omicron variant.”
The Province authorized boosters for everyone 70 and over back at the beginning of November. At the time, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health had preemptively started to reach out to people 70 and older in advance of the announcement, but if you’re eager to book you’re third dose, and you’re between 50 and 69, you will still have to wait a little while to book.
“Today, the Province announced the expansion of booster dose eligibility to adults 50 years of age and older and other at-risk populations,” said WDG Public Health communications specialist Danny Williamson in a brie statement. “Registration for this group will begin in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph on December 13 (in line with the Provincial registration system).”
Third doses are also being made available to people receiving dialysis (hemodialysis or peritoneal), and for post-transplantation individuals who’ve received hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT), hematopoietic cell transplants (HCT) (autologous or allogeneic), and recipients of CAR-T-cell therapy. The Government of Ontario is also making a small number of doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine available to people who have an allergy or contraindication to mRNA vaccines. Also, the University Health Network in Toronto and Juravinski Hospital in Hamilton are doing clinical trials on molnupiravir, a pill from Merck that will hopefully be an effective treatment for COVID.
As of Friday, 42 per cent of people age 80 and over have been given a third shot in our rgion, while 27 per cent between 75 to 79, and 23 per cent between 70 to 74 have gotten their boosters. With kids 5 years old and over now factored in, 81.2 per cent of the region is now fully vaccinated while 84.5 per cent have received one shot, while in Guelph alone 83 per cent have been fully vaccinated and 86.7 per cent have gotten one shot.