Ontario to release plan for COVID-19 vaccine boosters next week, health minister says

·2 min read
The average number of new daily cases of COVID-19 in Ontario continues to decline week over week. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)
The average number of new daily cases of COVID-19 in Ontario continues to decline week over week. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Ontario will release its plan next week for administering third doses of COVID-19 vaccine, the health minister said Friday, after Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended booster shots for adults aged 80 and older and suggested some other groups could also become eligible.

"Populations at highest risk of waning protection following their primary series and at highest risk of severe COVID-19 illness should be offered a booster dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after completing their primary series," NACI's new guidance released Friday said, noting that seniors 80 years and older "should" be offered a third shot.

NACI also said that people between the ages of 70 and 79 "may" be offered a booster shot, along with other groups "who may be at increased risk of lower protection over time since vaccination, increased risk of severe illness or who are essential for maintaining health system capacity."

Those groups include:

  • Adults between the ages of 70 and 79.

  • People who received two doses of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine or one dose of the Janssen vaccine.

  • Adults in or from First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.

  • Adults who are front-line health-care workers who have direct in-person contact with patients and who were vaccinated with a very short interval between their first and second doses (three or four weeks).

In a tweet posted after NACI's announcement, Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province's plan will include "information to all Ontarians on when they can expect to receive a third dose" of COVID-19 vaccine.

Ontario is currently offering third shots to long-term care residents, transplant recipients, some cancer patients and people receiving specific medications.

British Columbia, meanwhile, has said anyone in the province who wants a booster shot of a mRNA COVID-19 vaccine will be able to get one by May 2022.

Meanwhile, Ontario reported 419 additional cases of COVID-19 and no further deaths from the illness Friday morning.

The seven-day average of new daily cases fell to 355, down more than 12 per cent from the same day last week and its lowest point since Aug. 11.

Here are some key pandemic indicators and figures from the government's daily provincial update:

New school-related cases: 93, including 85 students and seven staff members. Two of Ontario's 4,844 publicly funded schools are currently closed due to COVID-19.

Patients in ICU with COVID-related illnesses: 130, with 89 needing a ventilator.

Tests completed in previous 24 hours: 29,592, with a 1.3 per cent positivity rate.

Active cases: 3,038.

Vaccinations: 21,170 doses were administered by public health units Thursday. About 84.3 per cent of eligible Ontarians, those aged 12 and older, have now had two doses of vaccine.

Ontario: New daily cases of COVID-19

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