Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health plans fall recalls
Ontario’s COVID-19 indicators are currently heading in the right direction, but the province’s top doctor is gearing up for the fall, when trends are likely to worsen, with plans including a new round of booster doses .
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said preparations include scenarios for various health system stakeholders, such as an “aggressive” flu season combined with a resurgence of COVID-19.
Ontario will purchase more than six million doses of flu vaccine, he said in an interview, and plans to offer more doses for COVID-19.
“So another booster dose for the most at-risk members of our community for COVID and then potentially opening it up to the general public for another booster dose,” he said.
The third doses are currently available for people age 12 and older, and the fourth doses are available for people age 60 and older or First Nations, Inuit, and Métis adults and adult members of their household. Immunocompromised people – such as transplant recipients – aged 60 and over and residents in long-term care can receive a fifth dose.
Moore predicts that in the fall, a new generation of vaccines will be available, targeting both the original COVID strain and another newer one circulating, such as Omicron.
“We are looking at distribution models through pharmacy, primary care and your public health partners,” he said.
“It would be something that could start as early as October. We will start with the highest risk, so by age or by profession, so healthcare workers or people over 60, to offer it to them, and then depending on availability and demand, expand further.
If another wave of COVID-19 threatens the health care system and its ability to deal with the surgical backlog, Moore said it’s possible mask mandates will return “if it’s really, absolutely necessary.”
“I think any other public health measures beyond that will certainly never be necessary, given the benefits of the vaccine that we’ve seen and the effectiveness of masking at the population level,” he said. declared.
Provincial mask mandates for public transit and health care facilities will expire this weekend – although hospitals say they will continue to require masks. The warrants remain in place at long-term care homes and retirement homes, and Moore recommends keeping them until at least the summer of 2023.
The province is also preparing for the eventual approval of vaccines for children under five. An application by Moderna for a COVID-19 vaccine for children aged six months to five years has been under review by Health Canada since late April.
It took almost three months for Health Canada to authorize the Moderna vaccine for adolescents and almost four months for children aged 6 to 11. Moore said younger children may not be able to get vaccinated until at least the end of the summer.
“We already have plans to distribute it through our primary care partners, as well as our pharmaceutical partners,” he said.
“So we are ready. Now it’s just a matter of making sure that the vaccine is safe, that it is effective and that it will indeed fully protect children. And I don’t mind taking that extra time to make sure the data is correct.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 10, 2022.