Ontario is opening COVID-19 booster shots to people over 50 in time for Christmas socialization – and to avoid the new Omicron variant that appears to be spreading faster than the dominant Delta strain.
People 50 and older can start booking and receiving their boosters from December 13, as long as they have 168 days after their second dose, Chief Medical Officer Dr Kieran Moore said Thursday.
“We want to be able to deliver the third dose in a timely manner before immunity wears off, especially as we see an increase in cases related to Delta and the potential threat from Omicron,” a- He added as Ontario reported 959 new infections, the highest daily tally since June.
“We looked at how quickly Omicron replaced Delta in South Africa and other countries. “
While it took Delta four months to become dominant in Ontario earlier this year, causing the spring lockdown when vaccination levels were low, “we may have a shorter window for Omicron given that we are concerned that it’s more transmissible, ”Moore told reporters.
Ontario has five confirmed cases of Omicron, including a new one at the East Toronto Detention Center with links to Durham Region. Moore said he expects additional infections due to the 400 people in Ontario who recently returned from trips to a list of 10 African countries where the strain is prevalent.
“We know that a certain proportion of them will be carriers of the virus. Our figures will therefore continue to increase, ”he added. “We could potentially see epidemics. “
Moore pointed out that it is not yet known whether Omicron causes more serious disease than Delta, but that should become clearer in the coming weeks and the vaccines should provide good protection.
While Ontarians over 50 will have to wait another 10 days for recalls, some with special conditions are eligible immediately.
These are dialysis patients who have passed their second dose by 56 days and are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. Also eligible are recipients of stem cell transplants, hematopoietic cell transplants and CAR T cell therapy, all at intervals to be determined by their healthcare teams.
Ontarians under 50 can expect to receive their booster shots starting in January depending on age and risk, with details to be released later, at periods six to eight months after their second. dose.
“If we don’t see the ability being used … we’ll potentially open it up to other age groups sooner,” Moore said, encouraging people who haven’t had a first or second hit to do so immediately. because the upcoming holiday season brings “more contact and increased risk.” ”
The delay to December 13 is to allow time to get more callbacks in the 70-plus age group that has been eligible for weeks, with just 20 percent turnout, and to maintain the capacity open vaccination for children 5 to 11 years old and for influenza vaccine.
People who have received two doses of Astra Zeneca, regardless of their age, are already eligible for boosters, as are recipients of the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine. More first doses are now available for people who are allergic to Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines or who prefer to receive J&J.
Just over 86% of Ontarians over the age of 12 have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 90% have received a dose. More than 12% of the estimated 1 million children aged 5 to 11 received their first injections, on track to reach 50% by the New Year, Moore said.
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