Ontarians ages 18 and older can get their COVID-19 booster shots starting Monday, Dec. 20. Here’s what you need to know.
Ontario premier Doug Ford announced the change in a Wednesday afternoon press conference in an effort to curb the growth of the rapidly expanding Omicron variant, he said. (Previously, boosters for those aged 18 to 49 weren’t to start until Jan. 4.)
Ford also announced the waiting period between receiving one’s second dose and getting the booster was being halved from 168 days to 84 days. Starting Wednesday, Dec. 15, people 50 and older can reschedule their booster appointment to reflect the new 84 day window, health minister Christine Elliott said.
Ford said the province is scaling up capacity to give 200,000 to 300,000 booster shots a day based on demand.
The premier also reinstated capacity limits for spaces with indoor capacity of 1,000 or more starting Saturday; all such stadiums, concerts halls, theatres, and event spaces will have capacity reduced by 50 per cent. He also announced free rapid antigen tests will be available at participating LCBO outlets in the coming weeks.
TO BOOK A BOOSTER
“Individuals can book an appointment through the provincial booking portal, public health units using their own booking system, participating pharmacies and primary care settings,” Elliott said Wednesday.
Once your appointment is booked, you will receive your shot at a hospital immunization clinic, pop-up clinic, one of Toronto’s city-run mass immunization clinics or a participating pharmacy.
Bookings will open Monday via Ontario’s provincial portal, Indigenous-led clinics and more. However, select pharmacies and other channels may begin providing walk-in booster shots to those eligible starting Friday, a spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of Health said.
Additionally, some public health units and providers may begin booking in advance, the spokesperson said.
Via Ontario’s provincial portal
As with the first and second doses, you can book via the province online or by calling 1-833-943-3900.
Via your local public health unit
Find your respective health unit in this registry and visit its website. Most will direct you to their own vaccine booking system there.
Via a local hospital or medical team
Certain hospitals and Ontario Health Team immunization clinics also offer walk-in vaccinations, but not all. Please check with the hospital first before visiting.
Via a pharmacy
To find a participating pharmacy near you, search for your postal code here.
“We’re expanding pharmacies and grocery retail workplace clinics for workers, their families and the supporting community as capacity allows,” Ford said.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT POP-UPS & GO-VAXX
Pop-up vaccination clinics are also being deployed at almost 50 locations across Ontario, including GO-VAXX vaccine buses. You can find the GO-VAXX bus schedule here; appointments aren’t necessary.
WORK FOR A LARGE EMPLOYER?
Ford said Ontario is shipping vaccines to large employers like Bruce Power, Ontario’s largest nuclear power facility.
This will soon be expanded to allow businesses to request vaccines for workers, provided they’re able to safely store and administer the shots.
REFRESH MY MEMORY ABOUT RAPID TESTS
Starting Wednesday, Ontario is rolling out a “testing blitz” beginning with pop-up testing sites at popular locations like malls, transit hubs and public libraries.
Ontarians will either receive a take-home rapid test or be administered a rapid antigen test on-site. Up to two million rapid tests will be provided, Elliott said. A list of where and when these sites will be active is available online.
Ontario is also partnering with the Crown-owned Liquor Control Board of Ontario to deploy millions of free rapid antigen tests to 660 participating LCBO locations in the coming weeks. These will arrive at the busiest stores this week before shipping to other locations.
Article From: The Star
Author: Kevin Jiang