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Ontario's top doctor says there is ample supply of Omicron-targeted COVID-19 vaccines

Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health speaks at a press conference at Queen’s Park in Toronto on Monday, April 11, 2022. Moore says there is ample supply of the Omicron-targeted COVID-19 vaccine, even for people who won't be eligible for that shot until later this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO — Ontario's chief medical officer of health says there is ample supply of the Omicron-targeted COVID-19 vaccine, even for people who won't be eligible for that shot until later this month.

Dr. Kieran Moore says over the next two weeks only 20,000 out of a potential 80,000 appointments have been booked.

"(We have) plenty of appointments available, we have the vaccine, we have the partnerships, we just need people to realize we all need to be protected for this winter, and maximize our level of protection at a community level," he said in an interview Thursday.

"I know it's great weather and everyone's outdoors, but we soon will be going indoors and the risk of transmission will be going up."

The province had hit a low of 5,000 people a day getting shots, and now with renewed interest in the vaccines with the introduction of the bivalent shot, that's up to 15,000, Moore said.

About 22,000 bivalent vaccines have been administered since they became available Monday, ministry officials said.

Ontarians aged 70 and older, long-term care residents, health-care workers, Indigenous people and their adult household members, immunocompromised people 12 and older and pregnant people are eligible for the Omicron-targeted booster now.

All others 18 and older can book now for appointments starting as of Sept. 26. The province had said at the time of the announcement Monday that availability of the bivalent shots for those appointments would be contingent on supply from the federal government, but Moore said there should be enough for those who want it.

The Ministry of Health said the recommended wait between shots is six months from the last booster dose, but the minimum interval is 84 days.

Moore said the fall booster campaign in general is progressing well, with 113,723 receiving any booster shot – bivalent or the original vaccine formula – since Sept. 1

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 15, 2022.

Allison Jones, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version provided an incorrect total from the ministry of how many bivalent doses have been administered.

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