The Ontario government has officially announced that starting on Thursday, it is rolling out its fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose for those aged 60 and older, as well as First Nation, Inuit and Métis individuals and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18 and older.
Those Ontarians will be eligible to get their second booster shot on April 7 starting at 8 a.m.
The government said the fourth dose is recommended at a five month interval after the third dose.
Fourth doses are already available to long-term care and retirement home residents and immunocompromised people in Ontario.
The government said expanding the booster eligibility will provide an extra layer of protection against Omicron and the new BA.2 variant.
It said antivirals are also another tool the province is using to “live with and manage COVID-19.”
The announcement from the Ontario government was already expected after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization advised provinces and territories to prepare to roll out fourth shots in the coming weeks.
NACI said it’s still studying whether second booster shots are necessary for younger adults and adolescents.
“As we continue to live with COVID-19, we are using every tool available to manage this virus and reduce its impact on our hospitals and health system, including by expanding the use of booster doses,” Minister of Health Christine Elliott said.
“Vaccines are our best defence against COVID-19 and its variant,” Elliott said.
Residents can book through the provincial portal, local public health units, participating pharmacies, or Indigenous-led vaccine clinics, the government said.
The most recent vaccination data indicates more than 92 per cent of Ontarians aged 12 and older have at least one dose with 91 per cent who are fully vaccinated. Some 55 per cent of Ontario residents are boosted.
— With files from The Canadian Press