All Ontarians over 18 eligible for third COVID-19 vaccines starting Monday

By

Published December 15, 2021 at 4:14 pm

The province is expanding eligibility of third dose COVID-19 vaccines to all Ontarians over the age of 18 and cutting the capacity limits at large venues in half.

Premier Doug Ford made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon, and the new eligibility will come weeks ahead of a planned expansion in January.

Third doses will be available three months or 84 days after receiving a second dose, cutting the time between second and third dose eligibility in half.

Appointments can be booked through the Ontario’s booking portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre.

Pharmacies will be able to provide boosters for individuals 18 and over at the three-month interval starting Friday (DEC. 17) for walk-in shots.

The province also announced reduced capacity of 50 per cent at any venue with a regular capacity over 1,000, starting on Saturday (Dec. 18).

This includes stadiums and concert venues, museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks and historic sites.

“As we combat the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant, nothing matters more than getting these booster doses into people’s arms,” Ford said.

While Ford said vaccinations are the best way to combat the spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, he did say “everything is on the table.”

Two million rapid tests will be provided free of charge at pop-up testing sites in high-traffic settings such as malls, retail settings, holiday markets, public libraries and transit hubs.

Take-home rapid tests will also be available at select LCBO stores, starting with the busiest stores this week and with more stores being added in the coming days.

Pop-up teams will be deployed at nearly 50 locations across the province, including some co-located with GO-VAXX mobile vaccine buses.

RELATED: Federal government reinstates travel advisory asking Canadians to avoid all non-essential air travel outside Canada.

Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott said third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine offers additional protection against the Omicron variant, which is rapidly spreading across the province.

She urged anyone eligible to get booster doses as soon as they can.

“If you haven’t received your first or second dose of the vaccine, now is the time,” she said.

Dr. Kieran Moore, chief medical officer of health, said officials will monitor the daily case numbers and there is no word on if or when the province will change the definition of being fully vaccinated from having two doses to three.

The province reported a total of 1,808 new COVID-19 cases across Ontario and nine deaths on Wednesday.

INsauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising