Canada

Who is eligible for a 4th COVID-19 vaccine dose? A province-by-province breakdown

As a seventh wave of COVID-19 begins sweeping across Canada, with the Omicron BA.5 subvariant driving transmission, some provinces are expanding eligibility for a fourth dose of the vaccine.

Some provinces are updating 4th-dose eligibility as Canada enters 7th wave

Dr. Christa Sinclair Mills fills doses of COVID-19 vaccine at the House Calls office in Toronto. As a seventh wave of the pandemic begins in Canada, some provinces are expanding eligibility for a fourth dose of the vaccine. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

As a seventh wave of COVID-19 begins sweeping across Canada, with the Omicron BA.5 subvariant driving transmission, some provinces are expanding eligibility for a fourth dose of the vaccine.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) released its guidance for a fall booster campaign late last month. The federal advisory body recommended that those with increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should be offered a shot in the fall, adding that anyone between the ages of 12 and 64 may also be eligible at that time.

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Although all provinces are offering a fourth dose to eligible groups, as of June 19, just over half of Canadians have yet to receive their third dose, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

"I would really double down on those efforts, in terms of getting fourth doses into the most vulnerable, and third doses into a lot of people who are still eligible but have not yet received them," said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist and physician with the University Health Network in Toronto.

While most provinces are already offering a fourth shot (or, for the general population, a second booster, as some immunocompromised individuals receive a third shot during their primary series) to their most vulnerable residents, some — such as Quebec and P.E.I. — have expanded eligibility substantially.

WATCH | Specialist says 3rd, 4th shots are important: 

3rd and 4th COVID-19 shots both important right now, says expert

1 month ago
Duration 3:59
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch explains who benefits most from a fourth dose of COVID-19, but also stresses the need for many people to simply get a third shot.

"Those who would most benefit from a fourth dose are people on the older end of the spectrum and people with underlying medical conditions that put them at greater risk for severe infection," Bogoch said, speaking specifically to the eligibility guidelines in July 2022.

"That's what the data suggests," he said. "So even if it's opened up, just remember, that's who would most benefit from a fourth dose."

Below, CBC News has gathered eligibility guidelines from every province and territory.

The North and West Coast

Agnes Mills, 85, was the first person in the Yukon to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Last week, the territorial government expanded eligibility for a fourth shot to those aged 18 and up. (Mark Kelly Photography/Government of Yukon)

Last week, the Yukon government expanded eligibility for a fourth shot.

All individuals 18 and older can now book a fourth shot if six months have passed since their third shot. Appointments begin on July 13. For those who have recently had COVID-19, a fourth shot (or second booster) is not recommended until three months have passed.

  • Book here. (Yukoners living in rural communities can check clinic dates and times at the same time.)

In the Northwest Territories, all individuals aged 50 and older and all immunocompromised people aged 12 and older are eligible to receive a fourth dose. In accordance with NACI's guidelines, the territory recommends that individuals wait at least six months after their third dose before booking another shot.

  • Book here. (Residents living outside Yellowknife are advised to call their local health centre.)

Residents of Nunavut aged 18 and older are eligible for a fourth dose if it has been 4½ months since their last dose. Some jurisdictions are prioritizing specific age groups. 

In British Columbia, everyone aged 12 and up can receive a booster shot if six months have passed since their last dose, though those eligible are advised to wait until fall.

The province currently recommends a fourth dose for individuals aged 70 and older; people in long-term care or awaiting placement in long-term care; Indigenous people aged 55 and older; and all immunocompromised people.

The Prairies

A scene from a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Thompson, Man. on Feb. 1, 2021. Among other groups, all Manitobans aged 50 and up are eligible for a fourth dose. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

In Alberta, those 70 and up are eligible for a fourth dose; First Nations, Métis and Inuit people aged 65 and older; and all seniors living in congregate-care settings, regardless of age. 

According to the most recently available data from PHAC, 38 per cent of Alberta's population has received a third dose. 

In Saskatchewan, all individuals 50 and over are eligible for a fourth dose if it's been at least four months since they received their last shot.

Groups eligible for a fourth dose of the vaccine in Manitoba are individuals aged 50 and older; First Nations, Métis and Inuit people aged 30 and up; residents of personal care homes and elderly people living in congregate settings; and moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals aged 18 to 49.

Central Canada

The Vaccibus mobile clinic makes a stop at the University of Quebec in Outaouais in the first week of September 2021. Quebec has expanded eligibility for a fourth dose of the vaccine to all residents aged 18 and older. (Hugo Belanger/Radio-Canada)

As of July 14 in Ontario, all adults aged 18 to 59 who had a third shot at least five months ago (or three months since a COVID-19 infection) will be eligible for a fourth. Previously, the eligible groups were those aged 60 and older and First Nations, Métis and Inuit people who are 18 and older. 

According to public health officials, Quebec and Ontario entered the seventh wave of the pandemic last week, with the Omicron BA.5 subvariant dominating in both provinces.

WATCH | Ontario expands eligibility for 4th COVID-19 shots: 

Ontario expands eligibility for 4th COVID-19 shots

1 month ago
Duration 1:56
Ontario is the latest Canadian province to expand eligibility for 4th COVID-19 vaccine doses to all adults. But the announcement came with an atypical message: not everyone needs to rush.

Meanwhile, Quebec has expanded fourth-dose eligibility to all residents aged 18 and older, though a provincial spokesperson confirmed to CBC News that the province is prioritizing people 60 years and up, all individuals with underlying medical conditions, and anyone at a higher risk of complications from COVID-19. 

Atlantic Canada

A walk-in clinic is held at the Halifax Convention Centre. Nova Scotia's current guidelines allow fourth doses for those aged 50 and older, if 168 days have passed since their last dose. (Robert Short/CBC)

The chief public health officer of Prince Edward Island announced last week that the province has expanded eligibility for a fourth shot to every resident aged 12 and up, as COVID-19 case numbers rise among Islanders.

Starting July 20 in Newfoundland and Labrador, anyone over 50 will be eligible for a fourth dose of the vaccine. Until then, those eligible are people aged 70 and older; all individuals living in a congregate setting for seniors; and Indigenous people or individuals living in a remote or isolated Indigenous community aged 18 and up.

WATCH | People over 50 eligible in N.L.: 

N.L. offers 2nd COVID-19 booster to those over 50

1 month ago
Duration 0:49
Newfoundland and Labrador is opening up eligibility for a second COVID-19 booster shot to anyone over 50, but the chief medical officer of health says there are many things to consider before getting another dose.

As of July 12, all residents of New Brunswick aged 18 and up are eligible for a fourth dose of the vaccine if it has been five months since their last shot. Chief medical officer of health, Dr. Jennifer Russell, announced the decision as hospitalizations rise across the province.

Nova Scotia's current guidelines allow fourth doses for people aged 50 and older if 168 days have passed since their last dose.

For all residents of long-term care and senior congregate settings, members of First Nations communities who are 55 and older, and immunocompromised people aged 50 and older, the recommended interval between doses is 120 days.

  • Book here for an mRNA vaccine (Moderna, Pfizer). Book here for a non-mRNA vaccine (Janssen, Novavax). mRNA vaccines are recommended for most people in Canada.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jenna Benchetrit is a web journalist for CBC News. Based in Toronto and born in Montreal, she holds a master's degree in journalism from Ryerson University. Reach her at jenna.benchetrit@cbc.ca or on Twitter @jennabenchetrit.

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