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Ontario expanded eligibility for third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine

Christian Fernsby |
In response to evolving data around the transmissibility of the Delta variant, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore is expanding eligibility for third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to additional groups that face the highest risk of serious illness from the virus.

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A complete two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series provides strong protection against COVID-19 infection and severe outcomes, including against the Delta variant, in the general population. Third doses are being offered to specific high-risk groups to help provide sufficient protection based on a suboptimal or waning immune response to vaccines and increased risk of COVID-19 infection.

Based on the recommendation of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and in alignment with NACI’s recommendation, the province will begin offering third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to additional vulnerable populations:

• Those undergoing active treatment for solid tumors;

• Those who are in receipt of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell;

• Those with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome);

• Stage 3 or advanced untreated HIV infection and those with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; and

• Those undergoing active treatment with the following categories of immunosuppressive therapies: anti-B cell therapies (monoclonal antibodies targeting CD19, CD20 and CD22), high-dose systemic corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, or tumor-necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors and other biologic agents that are significantly immunosuppressive.

Individuals in these groups can receive their third dose at a recommended interval of eight weeks following their second dose and will be contacted by their health care provider such as their primary care provider, specialist, or their hospital specialty program when they are eligible to receive the vaccine.

Locations and timing for third doses may vary by public health unit and high-risk population based on local planning and considerations, with third doses mainly to be administered at transplant clinics and cancer clinics.

Immunocompromised individuals with one of the eligible conditions will be contacted by their health care provider to confirm their eligibility and provide them with a referral to an available vaccine delivery channel such as a hospital, pharmacy, or primary care provider.

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