Ontarians 60+ eligible for 4th COVID vaccine dose starting Thursday
Posted April 6, 2022 5:28 am.
Last Updated April 7, 2022 9:36 am.
The Ford government has expanded the rollout of fourth doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, amid rising hospitalizations in the province.
Starting at 8 a.m. Thursday, Ontario residents aged 60 and older, as well as First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18 and over, were able to book appointments to receive their fourth dose.
“Booster doses are being offered to these individuals at a recommended interval of five months after receiving their last booster,” the province said on Wednesday.
Appointments can be made through the vaccine portal, by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900, directly through public health units that use their own booking systems, through Indigenous-led vaccination clinics, as well as participating pharmacies and primary care settings.
The province said the move was made in consultation with the the province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore.
“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,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a release. “Vaccines are our best defence against COVID-19 and its variants.”
On Tuesday, Elliott said the province plans to offer the booster doses to people aged 60 and older and that more details would be released today.
Fourth doses are already available to long-term care and retirement home residents, as well as those who are immunocompromised.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) said provinces and territories should prepare to offer fourth doses in the coming weeks, prioritizing those 80 and older and residents in long-term care.
Ontario in sixth wave of COVID
Doctors and public health experts continue to warn that Ontario is in the midst of a sixth wave of the virus and that the province is not doing enough to bring the latest wave under control.
Dr. Michael Warner, a critical care doctor at Michael Garron Hospital, called on the province to do a better job in explaining the situation to people.
“In Ontario we are in a sixth wave, I don’t know how bad this is going to be but it’s happening. Right now, the government is pretending it isn’t happening,” he said in a video he tweeted on Tuesday.
“The chief medical officer of health of the province is nowhere to be found.”
Dr. Moore last held a press conference on March 9, when he announced most mask mandates were being lifted on March 21, except for public transit and healthcare settings such as hospitals and long-term care homes.
On Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford came to the defence of Dr. Moore, saying he is “one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. He never rests. He works around the clock for the people of Ontario.”
Both Ford and Elliott have said the province anticipated the spike in cases as public health measures were lifted.
“We’ve seen the ICU actually stabilize — 160 people are in ICU, and (from) what I understand, they’ve been there for a little while,” Ford said.
“I’m very, very confident as we see the uptick a little bit that we knew that was coming, and Dr. Moore mentioned it and I’ve mentioned it publicly — we can handle this. We have the resources, we have the skillset, and we’ll get through it.”
With files from Richard Southern, Cynthia Mulligan, and Lucas Casaletto of CityNews, and The Canadian Press