Ontario opens up fourth COVID-19 shots to residents 18+

Ontario has widened eligibility for fourth shots of the COVID-19 vaccines to eligible residents ages 18 and up.

Beginning on Thursday, July 14th at 8 am, eligible residents who have received a third vaccine dose at least 5 months prior can book an appointment for a fourth booster dose by booking through the Ontario COVID-19 vaccine portal or by calling the provincial vaccine contact centre at 1-833-943-3900.

The move comes amid the rapid rise of the BA.5 variant of COVID-19 in the province, which has shown to be more transmissible and able to more easily evade existing immunity from both vaccination and infection.

Though a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be approved by Health Canada this fall that will offer more targeted protection against Omicron variants, many Ontarians received their third shot at least 5 months ago and are able to access a fourth dose for an additional level of protection against severe outcomes as the province faces a seventh pandemic wave.

Receiving a booster dose this summer  will not preclude individuals from accessing an Omicron-targeted vaccine later this year.

The Ontario government has also announced that it will be extending its free rapid antigen test program until December 31, 2022, giving Ontario residents free access to rapid test kits through grocery stores and pharmacies, as well as through workplaces, schools, hospitals, and long-term care.

“As we continue to manage COVID-19 for the long term, we’re expanding second booster doses and extending the availability of free rapid antigen tests to give people the tools they need to stay safe and to ensure Ontario stays open,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

“Vaccines continue to be our best defence against COVID-19 and protecting our hospital capacity for those who need it most.”

Read the full release here.

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