As the world waits to learn more about the Omicron variant, Ontario will announce an expansion of eligibility for third-shot boosters on Thursday for anyone 50 and older, with an opening date set for mid-December.
Two sources with knowledge of the announcement said the actual timing of vaccinations remains variable: if new daily vaccinations continue to be slow, it could open up more capacity in the immunization system and the date could be moved forward. The expansion was first reported by Globe and Mail’s Carly Weeks. Anyone 50 and older could receive one 168 days after their second injection.
But even without Omicron, Delta was already looting various parts of the province, and Ontario has seen exponential growth for several weeks. Data from other countries have shown that the immunity conferred by two doses of the vaccine erodes around the six-month mark, depending on the interval between injections.
Ontario had already opened third-shot boosters to those over 70, healthcare workers, indigenous, mestizo and Inuit and members of their household, and those who received two injections of the AstraZeneca vaccine or a dose of Johnson & Johnson. . Ontario has approximately four million doses ready to go, new daily vaccines remain limited, and third doses have not moved quickly in the population over 70 years old.
One source said Ontario will likely speed up access to third-shot reinforcements as well – that probably couldn’t happen until the new year. There is concern that some mutations in the Omicron variant could result in vaccine evasion, although a World Health Organization report on Wednesday said early indications show that vaccines may still provide significant protection.