By: Laura Steiner
Ontario is accelerating its timelines on COVID-19 vaccinations. 18-49 year old residents will now be eligible to book an appointment beginning Monday December 20, 2021. The move is in response to data on the Omicron variant indicating it may be more transmissible than the delta variant.
“I am issuing a call to arms. We need every member of Team Ontario to Stand tall and do their part as we work to protect our hard-fought progress and keep Ontarians safe,” Premier Doug Ford said. Appointments can booked through the province’s online booking portal three months (84 days) after their second dose. The wait period will also be adjusted to three months for those over 50 years of age, and appointments can be rescheduled by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at: 1-833-943-3900 before December 20, or rescheduling through the provincial booking portal.
The province is asking large corporations to host booster clinics not only for their workers and their families, but their communities. Bruce Power will be the first to open on cooperation with the Bruce-Grey Health Unit. “We are expanding our efforts to include workplace, and mobile vaccine clinics with the support of our health care and corporate partners as well as public health units, to ensure that first, second and booster doses are easily and conveniently accessible across the province to all Ontarians,” Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said. The initiative will be subject storage needs and space available for the safe administration of the vaccines If you are eligible for a booster or have not yet had your first or second dose, please come forward to get vaccinated. It will provide you, your loved ones and your community with a vital layer of protection throughout the winter season,” Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said.
Tests will be deployed in high traffic areas including libraries, retail settings holiday markets, public libraries, and transit hubs. 50 Pop-up testing sites will be available throughout the province, some working in cooperation with the GO-VAXX initiative. Visit this link to see the full list of pop-up locations using the antigen tests. No appointment will be required.
The province has reduced capacity limits on venues with a capacity of over 1000. These include:
- Entertainment facilities including concert venues, theatres and cinemas
- Racing venues
- meeting and event spaces
- studio audiences in commercial film and television production
- Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions, bingo halls/ gaming establishments; fair and rural exhibitions and festivals.
The new limits will be effective December 18 at 12:01 a.m.
Ontario Science Table Releases New Modeling Data
The Ontario Science has released its latest models. The majority of Public Health Units are show an increase in weekly cases. Projections indicate that Omicron will become the dominant strain in Ontario.
Key findings include:
- Omicron cases double every 2-4 days
- Those infected with Omicron infect approximately 6 times as many people as Delta variant did.
- Vaccine effectiveness against Omicron is stronger with three doses (modelled using data on Pfizer from the UK)
- The Health table recommends a “circuit breaker” lockdown as a method of “blunting the impact with stronger public health measures including reducing contacts by 50% and an aggressive booster campaign (approximately 250,000).
- Hospitalizations have increased by 26.6% in COVID-19 inpatients, and 25.8% in ICU patients over the last month, even though experts consider Omicron to be a less severe illness.
“Although uncertainty persists, waiting for more information will eliminate the opportunity for action.”