“We are doing a risk-based approach. There’s always a risk to having any therapeutic versus a benefit,” Moore said at a press conference on July 13.
Moore was announcing that Ontario will expand eligibility for the fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot to include all adults starting July 14 at 8 a.m., but those who are under 60 and healthy can choose to wait until the fall for a new shot that’s expected to better target Omicron variants.
“You want to make sure there’s a very strong benefit versus the risk. If you’re an 18-year-old healthy individual, the risk of getting hospitalized—if you have no underlying medical illness—is very very low,” he said, replying to a reporter who asked him why the province has allowed for a “personal decision” instead of recommending the second booster shot for everyone.
“We know there is a risk, a very small risk, one in 5,000 that may get myocarditis, for example, and you’d have to have that discussion on the risk-benefit of complications from the vaccine versus the benefit of decreased hospitalization for a young healthy person.”
Moore said residents aged 18 to 59 who have taken their initial two doses plus the first booster shot will have strong protection against the virus even six months after their last shot.
“However, there may be individuals with personal or medical circumstances in those age groups who may benefit from an additional protection of a second booster,” he said, pointing to risk factors including smoking, diabetes, or any underlying illness.
“It’s not a ‘should,’ it’s absolutely a ‘may,’ depending on your personal circumstances.”
After the announcement, Conservative leadership candidate Roman Baber criticized Moore for not making the call earlier to balance the low risk of hospitalization of young healthy people versus risks such as myocarditis from COVID-19 shots.
“Really? Since when? This is what we’ve been saying all along. So many lives ruined! Shame on many of you,” he said on Twitter.
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.