By: Laura Steiner
Ontario Chief Medical Officer of health (CMOH) Dr. Kieran Moore has issued new Directives on immunization. The orders were prompted by the Delta variant.
“To provide the best protection to each individual while learning to live with the virus, we are taking action by requiring individuals who work in higher-risk settings to be fully vaccinated by providing a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to certain groups who have a decreased immune response and by expanding the eligibility to the children born in 2009 or earlier,” Moore said. Ontario will also being staying in the current stage 3 until further notice.
As of September 7, 2021 Community, and home care service providers, as well as hospitals will be required to have a COVID-19 vaccination policy for all personnel including students, volunteers and contractors. The policies will include proof of three things:
- A full vaccination against COVID-19
- Proof of a medical reason for not being vaccinated
- The Completion of a COVID-19 educational session
Anyone who refuses will be asked to complete regular antigen test testing. Institutions will be required to report the implementation. Other settings expected to see vaccination policies are:
- Post-secondary institutions
- Licensed Retirement homes;
- Women’s Shelters , and:
- Congregate groups as well as day programs for adults with developmental disabilities, children’s treatment centres, and services for children licensed children’s residential settings.
The Ministry of Education is also working on vaccination policy for the 2021-22 school year. Theirs will cover all private school staff, publicly funded board of Education staff, as well as licensed child care settings. The Ministry will help schools run voluntary vaccination clinics in nearby schools. “Our plan will protect our schools, ensure rapid speed with contact tracing, all with the intention of keeping them open for the benefit of Ontario students,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce said.
Children turning 12 this year are eligible to take the Pfizer vaccine beginning tomorrow (August 18, 2021). Appointments are available through the provincial booking system, or through public health units, or walk-in vaccination clinics across the province.
Moore has also recommended that a third dose of the vaccine be given to select groups at high-risk for COVID-19 including:
- Transplant recipients (including solid organ transplant and hematopoietic stem cell transplants);
- Patients with hematological cancers (examples include lymphoma, myeloma, leukemia) on active treatment (chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy);
- Recipients of an anti-CD20 agent (e.g. rituximab, ocrelizumab, ofatumumab); and
- Residents of high-risk congregate settings including long-term care homes, higher-risk licensed retirement homes and First Nations elder care lodges.
“By taking additional measures in high-risk settings we will further protect our most vulnerable, safeguard hospital capacity, and, ensure a safe return to school and keep Ontario running,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said. The province reported an increase of 348 new cases. Of those 61 were in unvaccinated.
Halton Region reported an increase of 22 new cases, with three of those traced to Milton. 77% of Halton residents have had both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.