Updates to COVID-19 Third Dose Recommendations

As the focus on maintaining a low COVID-19 infection rate in our communities remains a priority, Ontario has made third doses of the COVID-19 vaccines available to additional vulnerable populations. 

For those listed below, third doses are offered at least 6 months since their last dose:

  • Individuals aged 70 and over (born in 1951 or earlier)
  • Health care workers and designated essential caregivers in congregate settings (including long-term care home and retirement home staff and designated caregivers)
  • Individuals who received a complete series of a viral vector vaccine (two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine or one dose of the Janssen vaccine) and
  • First Nation, Inuit and Métis adults and their non-Indigenous household members

As of November 6, 2021, individuals eligible for a booster vaccine dose have multiple options of booking a vaccination appointment. The options are listed below:

  • COVID-19 vaccination portal/Calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact centre
  • Contacting their respective public health units*
  • Indigenous-led vaccination clinics
  • Select pharmacies
  • Select family doctor offices

*If you are unsure of which public health unit is associated with your community, you can visit the following website to help you in your search: https://www.phdapps.health.gov.on.ca/phulocator/

For those eligible for a COVID-19 booster dose in Ontario, it is also recommended to get the flu shot at or around the same time. 

Additionally, Ontario’s Ministry of Health has made the following recommendations regarding COVID-19 booster vaccine doses: 

  • Either the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine may be offered as the booster dose irrespective of which vaccine was given in the initial series
  • If Pfizer-BioNTech is offered as the booster dose, the full dose is recommended**
  • If Moderna is offered as the booster dose to individuals over 70, those who are immunocompromised or living in long-term care homes, retirement homes, or seniors in congregate living settings, a full dose is recommended**
  • If Moderna is offered as the booster dose to individuals less than 70 years of age who do not fall under the criteria listed in the bullet point above, a half dose is recommended**

*These recommendations are based on the National Advisory Committee’s Interim Guidance on booster COVID-19 vaccine doses: (https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/phac-aspc/documents/services/immunization/national-advisory-committee-on-immunization-naci/recommendations-use-covid-19-vaccines/statement-guidance-booster-doses/statement-guidance-booster-doses.pdf)

Kunal Bhatt, RPh, PharmD, HBSc is a staff pharmacist for Charlton Health. As a 2020 PharmD graduate from the University of Toronto, Kunal possesses a diverse range of experiences from working in hospital and community pharmacy settings. Since January 2021, Kunal was heavily invested in contributing to the efforts against COVID-19 by administering upwards of 5000 COVID-19 vaccines at William Osler Health System’s vaccination clinics.  

Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health. Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.

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