Ontarians have until Friday to get first COVID-19 shot and be fully vaccinated for Christmas

TORONTO — Friday is the last day for unvaccinated individuals to receive their first dose and subsequently their second dose in order to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Christmas.

On Wednesday, Peel Region’s top doctor reiterated the importance of getting vaccinated against the deadly virus and warned that Nov. 12 is the last day to start the two-dose vaccination process and be fully immunized for the holiday.

“The end of your holidays are just six weeks away. If you celebrate Christmas, for example, you will need to get your first dose by Friday, and your second dose four weeks later, in order to have full protection for gatherings with family and friends by the 25th of December,” Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh said at Brampton’s COVID-19 press briefing.

Two doses of a Health Canada approved vaccine are required to be considered fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Currently, Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines are available for adults in Ontario.

A second dose can be administered at least 28 days after the first, and both vaccines can be mixed for second doses.

Individuals who received a first dose of AstraZeneca’s viral vector vaccine, before the province stopped administering first doses of it in May due to blood clotting concerns, can also mix doses and get an mRNA vaccine for their second shot.

For children between 12 and 17 years old, only Pfizer’s vaccine is available to them in Ontario.

Health Canada is currently in the process of approving vaccines for children between five and 11 years old.

“We now have incontrovertible proof that the vaccines are safe and effective. They’ve allowed us to stay open with precautions while reducing the risk of infection and spread and protecting against severe and fatal outcomes for individuals,” Loh said.

Third doses, or booster shots, were expanded to select Ontarians last week, including those aged 70 and older, health-care workers or essential caregivers in congregate settings, and Indigenous residents and their non-Indigenous household members.

Loh warns that unvaccinated individuals will be at increased risk of contracting the virus once current public health protocols are eventually lifted.

“You’re currently being protected by measures such as masking, vaccine certificates, and the fact that many other people in the community have done their part to get vaccinated and reduce the risk of spread, as well as reduce the overall transmission picture in our community,” Loh said.

“But the guardrails are going to come off at some point and when they do, if you remain unvaccinated and uninfected, the disease will be as novel to you at that point in time as it was in January 2020 and the risk of severe and mortal outcomes will remain.”

Loh also urged expectant mothers to get vaccinated to avoid serious illness and premature birth.

“There have been instances in our community where pregnant mothers have had to deliver ahead of term because they needed ICU care and ventilation support due to COVID-19,” Loh said.

“Getting two doses of vaccine as soon as possible will ensure a healthy pregnancy. The vaccines are safe and effective and will cause no harm to you or your unborn child.”

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