Ontario has announced that they will be expanding third dose eligibility to everyone aged 18 and over by December 20.
The province had originally planned to open appointments to this age group in January 4.
“Nothing matters more than getting these third shots in arms,” Premier Doug Ford said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Ontario opened up third dose appointments to anyone aged 50 and over on . With the new expansion, people aged 18 and over who are three months out from their second dose can begin booking appointments on Monday.
Starting December 20, those aged 18 and over will be eligible to schedule their booster dose appointment through the Ontario’s booking portal, by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre, through Indigenous-led vaccination clinics, participating pharmacies and primary care settings.
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The province is aiming to hit 200,000 to 300,000 booster shots administered per day, said Ford.
Pharmacies, grocery stores, hospital-based mass vaccination clinics, and workplace clinics will all be utilized for the “province-wide vaccine blitz.”
The province is ramping up booster doses in an effort to get ahead of the Omicron variant spreading in the province. Ontario reported 1,808 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and the seven-day rolling average is now 1,514.
The news comes as Ontario has consistently reported more than 1,000 new daily COVID-19 cases for more than seven days in a row. New data from Public Health Ontario paints a stark picture for the future of the new Omicron variant in the province. Their data suggests that 80% of people infected with COVID-19 on December 13 will be positive for the Omicron variant.
Hospitalizations in the province are also on the rise. On Wednesday, the province reported 357 hospitalizations and 154 patients in the ICU. Hospitalizations in the province have been steadily climbing since the beginning of December.
On Tuesday, Ontario’s Chief Medial Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore told reporters that new COVID-19 restrictions may be coming down the pipeline in light of rising cases and the Omicron variant. He said that all measures are currently under review and an announcement could come this week. He is expected to provide a COVID-19 briefing on Thursday afternoon.