THUNDER BAY - More people in Ontario interested in creating stronger immunity against COVID-19 and potential variants will soon be able to book an appointment for a booster shot.
Chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore announced on Thursday that the province is expanding eligibility for a COVID-19 booster shot to anyone over the age of 50 who received their second dose at least six months prior.
Appointments can be booked starting on Dec. 13, 2021 at 8 a.m.
In November, the province expanded booster shot availability to individuals over the age of 70, Indigenous people, and those most at risk and there are plans to further extend eligibility in January based on age and risk factors.
“If you are eligible for a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, please book your appointment as soon as you can to provide yourself with an extra layer of protection,” Moore said in a statement issued Thursday.
“If you have not yet received the vaccine, please do so today. This includes vaccinations for children aged five to 11. Achieving the highest vaccination rates possible remains our best tool to protect us, reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and fight the significant surge of new cases and the new Omicron variant.”
Thunder Bay District Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Janet DeMille said offering a COVID-19 booster shot to more people is an important step in reducing severe illness, particularly to those who are most vulnerable.
“We know that, especially for older people, there is a risk of waning immunity that makes people more susceptible to COVID-19 even if they are fully immunized with the two doses,” she said. “So booster doses, as the name implies, boosts up that immunity.”
DeMille added other jurisdictions that have been administering booster doses have seen a reduced number of cases, as well as fewer people admitted to hospital or intensive care units with the virus.
“We do know people who are older, even if fully immunized, some of them can still end up in hospital because of other underlying health issues they have and COVID infection making that worse,” she said. “So it is nice to see it expanded to other groups.”
The health unit has already been holding booster clinics for those over the age of 70 and DeMille said they are prepared for the expanded eligibility.
“We are prepared to be quite busy and hope we are quite busy,” she said. “We are certainly encouraging if you are eligible to come and get the booster. Our appointments are generally filling up for the booster doses, not all of them though. So if someone is eligible and wants to go to the CLE Coliseum, they can check online and book an appointment with us.”
Those eligible to receive the COVID-19 booster shot can book an appointment through the provincial COVID-19 vaccination portal. Select pharmacies will also be offering booster shots.