Ontario long-term care and retirement home residents can get a fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot

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Published December 30, 2021 at 4:48 pm

Ontario long-term care and retirement home residents can now get a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as staffers will be required to have at least three jabs.

The province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, made the announcement on Thursday alongside sweeping changes to PCR testing eligibility, new isolation requirements and a delay on sending kids back to schools in the new year.

Effective immediately, residents at long-term care, retirement homes, Elder Care Lodges and other congregate settings who received a third dose of a COIVD-19 vaccine three months or 84 days ago are eligible to receive a fourth shot of an mRNA vaccine.

Eligible staff, students, volunteers, and support workers at those same settings will also be required to get a third dose by Jan. 28 under the province’s new mandate.

Ontario long-term care homes aren’t accepting general visitors or allow residents to leave for social reasons as the province put a temporary ban in place as of Thursday.

Visitors to long-term care homes will be required to show proof of three COVID-19 vaccines following once the temporary ban is lifted. Two designated caregivers will still be allowed to visit each resident.

RELATED: Ontario halts visits, social trips for long-term care residents amid Omicron spread

As of Dec. 13, staffer have been required to be fully vaccinated in order to work in long-term care homes, unless they have a valid medical exemption.

The province said nearly 47 per cent of eligible staff and nearly 86 per cent of eligible residents have received their third dose booster shots.

Minister of Long-Term Care Rod Phillips said mandating third vaccine doses for staff and caregivers while offering fourth doses to residents is “an important step our government is taking to protect long-term care staff and residents.”

The changes come as the province set another record for new coronavirus infections on Thursday with 13,807 new cases reported and eight more deaths.

The previous record was just one day earlier with a count of 10,436 new cases and three new deaths on Wednesday.

A new study on Ontario COVID-19 cases suggests the Omicron variant is less likely to cause hospitalization or death than the Delta variant, but could still significantly impact health-care systems due to its high transmissibility.

 

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