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Ontario expands booster doses to children 5 to 11 ahead of rise in infections


Children between the ages of five and 11 in Ontario will be eligible as of Thursday for a COVID-19 booster shot as officials gear up for a rise in infections this fall.

The announcement was made by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health on Wednesday afternoon.

Parents and caregivers can book appointments for a  pediatric booster dose as of 8 a.m. on Sept. 1 through the provincial portal or through their public health units, health-care providers or at participating pharmacies.

The booster should be administered at least six months after the most recent dose.

Health Canada approved a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster for this age group earlier this month.

“Staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters is still the best tool to keep people healthy and out of hospitals, and to ensure Ontario’s economy stays open,” Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Sylvia Jones said in a news release issued Wednesday.

“Expanding access to boosters for ages five to 11 will give parents more opportunities to protect themselves, their families and their communities this fall as kids go back to school and as people are spending more time indoors.”

As for older residents, the Ontario government expanded fourth-dose eligibility to all adults in July as well.

Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Dr. Kieran Moore said that Ontario is still living in the seventh wave of the pandemic. While infections appear to have plateaued, COVID-19 remains within the community.

“We're seeing some improvement and we need to turn our attention to move forward and being prepared for what the fall and winter is likely to bring. We know that COVID-19 will continue to evolve and circulate in the community and that other respiratory viruses, including the flu, begin circulating, but we know how to protect ourselves and prevent serious severe illness.”

As part of this “all respiratory virus approach,” Moore also released updated isolation guidelines for the general public, saying that individuals who are ill no longer have to participate in a five-day self quarantine.

Instead, individuals are simply being urged to stay home when symptomatic. After 24 hours of being symptom free, individuals may return to work or school regardless of whether or not they test positive on a COVID-19 test.

These same individuals are being asked to wear a mask for 10 days once they emerge from their voluntary isolation.

Teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 are already eligible for a booster dose while children under the age of five became eligible for their first vaccine shot in July.

All adults are eligible for their fourth COVID-19 dose; however Moore previously said that healthy adults may want to wait for a new vaccine that targets the Omicron subvariant.


Canada has purchased millions of doses of Moderna’s bivalent vaccine that targets the original COVID-19 strain in addition to the Omicron variant; however Health Canada’s approval is still needed before they are rolled out to provinces and territories.

On Wednesday, Moore said that he expects the new vaccine to be available in the “coming weeks and months.”

“It'll start with a high-risk strategy at first but then be made available to the public,” he said.

“I'm anxiously anticipating the Health Canada approval of the product and to be able to review (the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s) recommendations on the product and then be able to distribute it to our immunization partners.”

He said he anticipates getting a limited amount of doses at first for high-risk communities and seniors. He said that adults may want to “reflect” on when their last doses were when making the decision to get a fourth dose now or to wait for the bivalent vaccine.

After six months immunity for COVID-19 begins to wane, Moore said.

“The longer you wait, the more I would consider getting that second booster so that you stay protected especially as we head into I think what's going to be a complex winter with multiple viruses circulating.” Top Stories

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