While the vast majority of adults in Ontario are vaccinated against COVID-19, less than 50% have had a third shot or “booster”—and even fewer individuals have had a fourth shot. This statistic is concerning as Omicron and its sub variants are exponentially more contagious than previous variants of COVID-19, and the virus continues to present a serious threat to seniors and other vulnerable groups. While immunization against COVID-19 is very effective against severe outcomes from the virus, effacacy does wane over time—so, if you haven’t received a booster in recent weeks or months, your risk will gradually increase.
Knowledge is a powerful tool that can help us make the best decisions for our individual health and community well-being. Here’s what you need to know about getting a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Toronto and the surrounding areas.
Who is eligible for a fourth dose?
Fourth dose eligibility has expanded in recent weeks and now, if you are over the age of 60, you currently qualify for a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. As per the government of Ontario:
“...in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is expanding eligibility for fourth doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to individuals aged 60 and over as well as First Nation, Inuit and Métis individuals and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18 and over starting on April 7, 2022. Expanding booster eligibility will provide an extra layer of protection against the Omicron and BA.2 variants and, in addition to antivirals, are another tool the province is using to live with and manage COVID-19.”
You can book your booster here or contact your local public health unit for support. Booster shots are also available at many neighbourhood pharmacies.
Should I get it?
We recommend speaking to your doctor for personalized advice but generally speaking, your best protection against severe outcomes from COVID-19 is to be fully vaccinated including all boosters you are eligible for. As we noted above, this doesn’t mean you are immune to getting the virus but it does offer an exceptionally high level of protection against hospitalization and/or death. In fact, recent studies indicate that having a fourth dose cuts seniors’ risk of death in half if infected with the virus. Discussing the results of the study, one doctor advised:
"The basic immunization schedule should be three doses for most people, but the vulnerable people, elderly, immunosuppressed and people with significant co-morbidities should have boosters in future.”
Again, these are general guidelines that do not take your unique medical history into account, and we recommend speaking to your doctor for personalized advice.
We care about the health and well-being of seniors
At Living Assistance Services in Toronto, we care about the health of seniors, health care workers and the greater community. Our team continues to be diligent with health and safety practices in order to keep our clients, our staff and their families safe. Thank you for reading, and please share this post with anyone who may find it useful. As always, we are pleased to hear from current and prospective clients at any time, so please contact us with any questions you may have about our policies and services.