Ontario to Expand Second COVID Booster Shot Eligibility to People Over Age 60
Canadian health officials say the highly transmissible BA.2 sub-variant of the Omicron coronavirus and waning vaccine immunity may be contributing to an increase in coronavirus transmission. Photo: Wachiwit/Getty Images
Canada’s Ontario province said Wednesday it will start offering a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccines to people aged 60 and over, as well as to all adults in indigenous households from Thursday.
An official Canadian panel recommended a second vaccine booster for some Canadians on Tuesday, as coronavirus infections rose in many parts of the country.
Canadian health officials say the highly transmissible BA.2 sub-variant of the Omicron coronavirus and waning vaccine immunity may be contributing to an increase in coronavirus transmission.
“As we continue to live with COVID-19, we are using every tool available to manage this virus and reduce its impact on our hospitals and health system, including by expanding the use of booster doses,” Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a statement.
Ontario, due for a provincial election in June, dropped its mask mandate for all areas except healthcare settings and public transit last month.
Its health ministry said on Tuesday that local health units can impose their own measures, and the province’s hospitals can deal with the surge.
The province, Canada’s most populous, had been offering fourth doses of COVID vaccines since Dec. 30 to some vulnerable populations, including residents of long-term care homes and retirement homes.
After more than a month of declines, COVID cases started to increase around the world in March due to a combination of factors, including the BA.2 sub-variant and the lifting of public health and social measures, according to the World Health Organization.
Canada was closely monitoring the BA.2 sub-variant and working with health authorities globally to track its spread, health officials said last week.
(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in BengaluruEditing by Bernadette Baum)