Ontario is lowering the age of eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots to people who are aged 50 and older this year.
Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, announced Thursday afternoon that the expansion of eligibility will begin mid-December.
Starting on Monday, December 13 at 8:00 a.m., individuals aged 50 and over will be eligible to schedule their booster dose appointment through the COVID-19 vaccination portal, by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre, through Indigenous-led vaccination clinics, select pharmacies and primary care settings. Appointments will be booked for approximately six months (168 days) after a second dose.
In addition, due to a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, effective immediately individuals receiving dialysis (hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis) are eligible to receive a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if it has been 56 days since their second dose.
Also effective immediately, the province is recommending re-vaccination with a new COVID-19 vaccine primary series post-transplantation for individuals who receive hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT), hematopoietic cell transplants (HCT) (autologous or allogeneic), and recipients of CAR-T-cell therapy, due to the loss of immunity following therapy or transplant.
Beginning in January, Ontario will further expand eligibility for booster doses based on age and risk, with an interval of six to eight months from the second dose.
A booster shot is meant to improve the immune response of a regular two-dose vaccine regimen which, with time, can “[fall] below a rate deemed sufficient,” according to the World Health Organization.
As part of the province’s efforts to vaccinate as many eligible individuals as possible, a limited supply of the single dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine will also be available starting today. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available to individuals aged 18 and over who have an allergy or contraindication to mRNA vaccines or at the request of an individuals who has not yet been vaccinated by contacting their public health unit.