ontario booster

Ontario expedites booster shot rollout to include everyone 18 and over

The Province of Ontario has decided to accelerate its plan for administering COVID-19 booster shots in light of the rapidly-spreading Omicron variant, revealing on Wednesday afternoon that eligibility would be expanded to more age groups even faster than the expedited rollout it shared just last week.

Third doses have so far been limited to only the elderly, immunocompromised, people who work and reside in certain settings and Indigenous populations, with the age bracket dropping to 50 and over just this past Monday.

But, Omicron has necessitated a change in strategy, with officials hinting for weeks now that they want to get more doses out to more of the public.

It has now been confirmed that residents 18 and over will be able to get a booster starting Monday, December 20 — more than two weeks earlier than the new date for this age group revealed on Friday.

While the plan so far has been to limit boosters to those who have been fully vaccinated for at least 168 days and thus have the most waning immunity, all adults who received their second dose at least three months ago will be able to sign up for an additional jab through the province's online portal.

And, starting Friday, December 18, pharmacies and other providers are permitted to offer boosters to all eligible adults on a walk-in basis. The province will also be ramping up from about 40,000 immunizations per day to a whopping 200,000-300,000 based on demand.

"As we combat the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant, nothing matters more than getting these booster doses into people’s arms" Premier Doug Ford said in a media briefing on the topic today in which he issued a "call to arms" for everyone to take further action to protect themselves and others.

Meanwhile, the proposal to lift capacity limits as well as proof of vaccination requirements in some settings on January 17 has now been nixed, and additional public health measures are on the way just ahead of the holidays instead.

Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Keiran Moore said during a presser on Tuesday that restrictions such as sterner gathering limits may be returning, among others, while Premier Doug Ford announced a provincewide cut to 50 per cent capacity for indoor entertainment and sports vnues that hold more than 1,000 guests.

Some regions, such as Kingston and Greater Sudbury, have already taken it upon themselves to impose other more stringent rules in the midst of rising COVID-19 case counts.

The province saw 1,808 new infections on Wednesday, marking the highest daily figure since late May.

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