COVID-19: Ontario offers fourth dose of vaccine to everyone 18 years and older | Coronavirus: Ontario

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COVID-19: Ontario Offers Fourth Dose of Vaccine to Everyone 18+ | Coronavirus: Ontario

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Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore called the press Wednesday morning.

All Ontarians 18 and older will be able to get their second COVID-19 booster starting Thursday if they received their last dose of vaccine five months ago or were infected at least three months.

Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, announced the expanded eligibility criteria for the fourth dose on Wednesday morning.

Previously, only Ontarians aged 60 and over as well as people at particular risk such as immunocompromised people and First Nations people could receive this second booster dose.

However, the x27;Ontario is in the midst of a seventh wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Moore confirmed last week.

For several weeks, many experts as well that opposition parties were urging the province to expand its eligibility criteria by arguing that the fourth dose helps increase the degree of protection against complications from COVID-19.

Dr. Moore says, however, that the expansion of the second booster dose is primarily aimed at people under 60 who have medical conditions and are “vulnerable” or people who have parents who are undergoing chemotherapy treatments, for example.

“For a healthy young person [who has had his three doses], the degree of protection is very good. It is not absolutely necessary to have the fourth dose now. We can expect the recall in the fall.

—Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario

Dr. Moore expects a bivalent vaccine to be approved by Health Canada by the fall, which could provide more targeted protection against Omicron variants. He adds that people who get their fourth dose now should still be eligible for this new vaccine in the fall.

About six million Ontarians who have received the third dose have not been able to get the fourth dose until now.

Quebec has been offering the fourth dose to those 18 and over since May . Dr. Moore defends himself for delaying action, arguing that Ontario has adopted a risk-based strategy. He hopes more Ontarians will receive the fourth dose than in Quebec.

For his part, the interim leader of the NDP in Ontario, Peter Tabuns, says that family doctors should be able to offer the fourth dose. [Government] Ford should reduce barriers by providing doses to family doctors and those receiving home care, he says.

In Ontario, the seventh wave of COVID-19 is fueled primarily by Omicron's BA.5 subvariant, according to multiple experts.

The BA.5 subvariant has undergone enough mutations to allow it to remain undetected by the immune system. So people get re-infected, says Dr. Fahad Razak, scientific director of the Ontario Scientific Advisory Group for COVID-19.

We know it's summer and people don't want to hear about the pandemic, but we're dealing with this BA.5 variant right now, notes Dr. Moore. He expects the seventh wave to peak within two weeks.

We still have room [in hospitals], says Dr. Moore, who is ruling out the return of restrictions like mask-wearing for now. According to him, about 70% of intensive care beds are currently occupied.

The province no longer publishes daily pandemic statistics. According to the latest epidemiological data (July 7), the number of people hospitalized in Ontario with COVID-19 was 712, including 110 in intensive care. This is 15 to 20% more than the previous week.

Ontario needs to clarify whether it will continue to distribute free rapid tests in August.

Ontario's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Kieran Moore, has also announced on Wednesday that the free antigen testing program in grocery stores and pharmacies will be extended until at least December 31.

Dr. Moore admits that these tests rapids lost effectiveness against Omicron variants. According to him, only a positive result should be interpreted as such. A negative result does not guarantee freedom from infection, he reminds.

With information from CBC

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