Two doses still OK, but third shots now rolling out to Eastern Ontarians 70 and over

EASTERN ONTARIO — While the general rollout of third doses to individuals 70 and over has begun, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit assures the public that two shots of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine still counts as “fully vaccinated.”

Ontario’s online vaccination portal started allowing a newly expanded list of eligible individuals to book their latest dose yesterday, Nov. 6 (www.Ontario.ca/bookvaccine).

“Receiving a third shot is recommended, however, is not urgent and not mandatory,” the local health authority says in a press release issued late last week. Two doses continue to “provide strong protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death.” However, the EOHU also concedes, the province does plan to expand eligibility for a booster dose to all Ontarians over time.

The recent reassurance came as third shots became more widely available yesterday, starting with those 70 and up who are at least six months past their last inoculation. 

Third dose eligibility has also been expanded to:

  • Indigenous populations on or off reserve and their household members aged 18 and over;
  • Health care workers;
  • and designated essential caregivers in congregate settings.

Also eligible are people who have received two doses of AstraZeneca or one dose of Janssen. It’s recommended they get an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) for their third shot unless contraindicated.

Third doses have been offered to long-term care and retirement home residents since August.

Individuals who require assistance with booking can call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900. If you need assistance or special accommodations, you may also call the EOHU at 1-800-267-7120. Clients needing a first or second dose can also use Ontario’s vaccine booking system. 

Walk-in clients for third doses will be accepted, however, they are encouraged to book an appointment through the provincial COVID-19 vaccination portal. The EOHU continues to welcome individuals needing a first or second dose with or without an appointment.

Those meeting the criteria for a third dose are encouraged to seek vaccination at a partnering pharmacy or health care provider. COVID-19 vaccines may be given at the same time as, or any time before or after, the flu shot or other vaccines. Either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine may be used as a booster dose, regardless of which COVID-19 vaccine was used in the primary series.

Clients seeking a third dose will be asked to provide proof of eligibility before receiving their vaccine. Don’t show up at a vaccination site in search of a third dose if you’re not eligible. “We are requesting everyone’s collaboration and patience as we continue this enormous vaccination effort, says the EOHU.

Meanwhile, a key measure to encourage vaccination — mandatory vaccine passport checks to enter restaurants and  many other public venues — will be done away with as early as Jan. 17, under a plan released by the Ford government two weeks ago. Barring an upsurge in cases, the mandate will be gone completely by March 28, along with the indoor mask rule.

 

Scroll down to share this article. Scroll down to search nationvalleynews.com. Scroll down to comment.