TORONTO _ Ontarians aged 60 and older can start booking appointments for a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine today.
First Nations, Inuit and Metis individuals and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18 and above are also eligible to start booking those shots today.
Fourth doses are being offered at a recommended interval of five months after the initial booster shot.
Residents can book appointments through the provincial vaccine portal, public health units with separate booking systems, Indigenous-led vaccination clinics and some pharmacies.
Fourth doses are already available to long-term care and retirement home residents and immunocompromised people in Ontario.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says a fourth dose provides an extra layer of protection against Omicron and the BA.2 variant.
The rollout comes as hospitalizations are increasing _ up 40 per cent week over week _ and wastewater surveillance suggests COVID-19 activity is nearly the same as it was at the peak of the fifth wave in January.
It also comes as administration of third doses has slowed. About 96 per cent of people aged 60-69 have received two doses, but only 78 per cent have received a booster dose.