Corp Comm Connects

5,000+ York Region residents have received 4th COVID-19 vaccine dose
March 11, 2022

Although public COVID-19 vaccination mandates have ended, York Region is continuing the next stage of vaccination in long-term care homes with fourth doses available for residents.

The region said it has now administered more than 5,000 fourth doses to eligible individuals, including 4,000 to long-term care homes, since the doses were made available Dec. 30. Eligibility expanded to help keep up COVID-19 immunity among the congregate care setting population, as long as it has been least three months since a third dose.

“The fourth dose provides additional protection against COVID-19 and variants for some of the highest-risk and most vulnerable York Region residents,” director of corporate communications Patrick Casey said.

The province is still requiring masking and proof of booster dose vaccinations in long-term care homes, though requirements for vaccinations will lift March 14 and for masking April 27. Regional data does not yet include fourth doses, but approximately 80.8 per cent of residents 80 and older have at least three doses as of March 7.

Casey said public health has provided long-term care homes with fourth dose vaccinations since January, helping administer them where needed.

The Ontario Association of Residents’ Councils said the doses make sense for the setting.

“The latest scientific data backed by opinions expressed by Canadian medical experts suggest that a fourth dose will provide more robust protection for those at highest risk of contracting the virus," the association said in a bulletin. "Bring recipients closer to springtime, when temperatures will allow for people to enjoy the outdoors much more than during the cold winter."

However, fourth doses for the general public, including seniors living outside such settings, are not yet being made available by the province. York Region medical officer of health Dr. Barry Pakes said if fourth doses for the general public do happen, that would probably be some time in the fall.

Some immunocompromised residents can also get fourth doses, though Casey said that is equivalent to a third booster dose for the general public. Many of these individuals were provided three doses for their initial vaccine series, instead of two for the rest of the population. These can include several different categories, such as dialysis patients and transplant recipients. Fourth doses for these individuals are available at York Region’s vaccination clinics.

Much of the region still have yet to get a third, booster dose, with only 55.2 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 and older having received one as of March 7.

“The best protection from serious illness from COVID-19 is vaccination; we strongly recommend you get vaccinated as soon as possible if you haven’t already,” Casey said.