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Eligibility for a fourth-dose COVID-19 booster opens April 7

Those 60 and older and Indigenous persons 18 and older can start booking as of Thursday

More Ontario residents will be eligible to get the fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine starting tomorrow, April 7.

The Ontario government said that after consulting with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, it has decided that a fourth dose will be eligible to individuals aged 60 and older. This also applies to First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18 and over.

Boosters in general can be administered as early as three months (84 days) between doses for those 18 years of age and older, while those aged 12 to 17 can get a booster six months (168 days) between doses. 

The Ministry of Health said expanding the booster eligibility will provide an extra layer of protection against the Omicron and BA.2 variants of COVID. In addition to antivirals, the fourth dose is another tool the province is using to live with and manage COVID-19, said the ministry.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the goal of the extra dose is to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on Ontario hospitals and the health system in general. 

“Vaccines are our best defence against COVID-19 and its variants. Because of our exceptionally high vaccination rates and Ontario’s cautious approach, we currently have one of the lowest hospitalization rates in the country and have performed well throughout this pandemic when compared to other similar-sized provinces and states. I encourage everyone who’s eligible to get boosted as soon as you’re able,” Elliott said. 

Starting April 7 at 8:00 a.m., eligible individuals will be able to book their fourth dose appointment through the COVID-19 vaccination portal, by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900, or directly through public health units that use their own booking systems, through Indigenous-led vaccination clinics, participating pharmacies, and participating primary care settings. 

In Sudbury, information on vaccines and local clinics is published regularly by Public Health Sudbury and Districts, which has a vaccine information page.  

Ontario has been offering fourth doses of the COVID-19 vaccine since December 30, 2021 to vulnerable populations including residents of long-term care homes, retirement homes, First Nation elder care lodges and older adults in other congregate care settings that provide assisted-living and health services. Providing additional boosters to these groups has helped to prevent serious outcomes in the population during the Omicron wave, said the ministry.