COVID-19 information for adults with 22q

For the first two years of the pandemic, Canada had some of the most restrictive public health measures in the world. Researchers from the University of Toronto have now published a report that shows how we did compared to other members of the G10. They found that Canada had the highest two-dose vaccination rate. We also had fewer cases and deaths from COVID-19 than any other country in the G10 group of wealthy nations except Japan. At the same time, our country’s economic performance did not do so well.

Please see the full report and the interview with Heidi Singer, the scientific director of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.

Ontario is now in its seventh wave of COVID-19, but unfortunately the public support for public health measures has drastically decreased. As seen on the Ontario Dashboard, the pandemic is not yet over. We need to stay focused to tackle the challenges ahead.

Even though many places no longer ask for a proof of COVID-19 vaccination, Toronto General Hospital still requires that essential care partners who bring patients to medical appointments be vaccinated.

Where to get your proof of vaccination (QR code) or book your vaccination appointment

Disclaimer: These information pages are provided for educational purposes only. They are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you have questions or concerns, please discuss them with your doctor or healthcare provider.

Who should receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Updated July 15th, 2022.

Our Clinic recommends that all individuals with 22q as well as their family members receive all the vaccine doses (including boosters) for which they are eligible.

  1. All individuals with 22q should receive the vaccine. The primary series plus the booster doses protect very well against the worst effects of the virus.
    • All individuals in Ontario aged 18 and over can receive their fourth dose (second booster). The recommended interval is 5 months (140 days) after the third dose (first booster), but the interval can be as short as three months (84 days).
      • Most individuals aged 18 to 59 years old will continue to have strong protection more than six months after their first booster dose. Nevertheless, some people may choose to get the second booster based on their personal circumstances. Please speak to your healthcare provider if you are not sure whether to get the second booster or not.
    • All individuals aged 12 to 17 can receive their third dose at least 6 months (168 days) after their second dose. This interval may be associated with a lower risk of myocarditis with or without pericarditis. With informed consent, individuals 12-17 years of age may receive a booster dose at a minimum of 3 months (84 days) after completion of a primary COVID-19 vaccine series.
    • Residents in long term care homes can receive their fourth dose at least 3 months (84 days) after their third dose.
    • See the Government of Ontario’s webpage on booster doses
  2. Individuals with moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency should receive additional doses:
    • Third dose (as part of an “extended primary series”) at least 8 weeks (56 days) after the second dose.
    • Fourth dose (booster):
      • At least 3 months (84 days) after the third dose for individuals 18 years and older
      • At least 6 months (168 days) after the third dose for individuals 12 to 17 years old
    • Eligible individuals will need to provide their prescription, prescription vial or a referral from a health care professional at the time of their appointment.
    • See the Government of Ontario’s webpage on booster doses
  3. All close contacts (e.g., immediate family members) of individuals with 22q should also receive the vaccine, in order to protect the person in the family likely to be most in danger of getting very sick from the virus (that is, the person with 22q).
  4. Individuals who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection should still receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • For those who have not yet finished their primary series of vaccination: It is recommended that you wait four to eight weeks after having COVID-19 to get the next dose in your primary series.
    • For those who get COVID-19 after a complete primary series: It is recommended that you wait three months after having COVID-19 to get your booster dose.
    • Optimal timing can be discussed with a health care provider and depends on age, number of doses received, and health status.
  5. Women who are breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy should get the COVID-19 vaccines.
  6. People who experienced severe, immediate allergic reactions after a first dose of COVID-19 can safely receive future doses after consulting with an appropriate physician, and that the optimal interval between COVID-19 mRNA vaccines appears to be 8 weeks.

A new bivalent COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be approved by Health Canada later this year. It may offer more targeted protection against the Omicron variants.

Please note that there are very few acceptable medical exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccination.

For more information and to book your vaccination appointment, please visit the Ontario Government’s Getting the COVID-19 vaccine page.

[Return to top]

Information about COVID-19 Vaccines

All the COVID-19 vaccines approved by Health Canada give excellent protection against the COVID-19 disease. None of them contain any live virus. They cannot cause disease. So they are safe for people with immune deficiencies, just as they are for everyone else in the general population. Even for people who don’t make antibodies very well, the vaccine will help protect against the COVID-19 disease.

If you have any concerns, please check with your doctor. You can also call the VaxFacts Clinic of the Scarborough Health Network to book a phone appointment. VaxFacts is an opportunity for a one-to-one, judgement-free phone call with a physician, to address any questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccines. They have successfully counselled hundreds of patients in the past couple of months and have now opened up to all of Canada.

More Information about COVID 19 Vaccines

[Return to top]

Booking appointments for vaccination against COVID-19

Patients and caregivers who come to Toronto General Hospital

The Outpatient Pharmacy at Toronto General Hospital is offering COVID-19 vaccine services to patients and caregivers on weekdays between 9 am and 5 pm. Please call ahead to book an appointment at (416) 340-4075.

Everyone

To book your vaccination appointment, please visit the Ontario Government’s Getting the COVID-19 vaccine page. You can see our tip sheet for more information.

The City of Toronto offers multiple options including pop-up clinics.

You can also get your vaccine at a GO-VAXX mobile vaccine clinic, which are modified from GO buses. Please check their schedule to see when these clinics will come to your community.

Individuals who had a COVID-19 infection
  • Any vaccinated Canadian who got a COVID-19 infection should wait 3 months before getting a COVID-19 booster shot.
  • Those who had a COVID-19 infection before starting or completing their primary COVID-19 vaccine series may receive their next dose 8 weeks after symptoms started or after testing positive.
Individuals with moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency

Government recommendations for the third dose uses the term “DiGeorge syndrome”, which is an older name for 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q).

  • Individuals with moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency should receive additional doses:
    • Third dose (as part of an “extended primary series”) at least 8 weeks (56 days) after the second dose.
    • Fourth dose (booster):
      • At least 3 months (84 days) after the third dose for individuals 18 years and older
      • At least 6 months (168 days) after the third dose for individuals 12 to 17 years old
  • Eligible individuals will need to provide their prescription, prescription vial, or a referral from a health care professional at the time of their appointment.
  • See the Government of Ontario’s webpage on booster doses

Individuals who have received some vaccine doses outside of Ontario

Please see the Government of Ontario’s COVID-19 Guidance for Individuals Vaccinated outside of Ontario/Canada.

Additional Notes

If you need help booking a vaccination appointment, please call us at (416) 340-5145 or email us at 22q@uhn.ca.

[Return to top]

Proof of Vaccination

Updated March 2nd, 2022

Even though many places no longer ask for a proof of COVID-19 vaccination, Toronto General Hospital still requires that essential care partners who bring patients to medical appointments be vaccinated.

Where to get your proof of vaccination

If you have any questions or concerns, please speak with your healthcare provider.

[Return to top]

COVID-19 Symptoms

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.

COVID-19 symptoms and treatment (Government of Canada website)

Self assessment (Government of Ontario website)

Is it COVID or a cold? How to know as Omicron cases rise (CBC Article)

[Return to top]

How to avoid COVID-19

Updated July 15th, 2022

Although this disease spreads easily, there are a few things you can do to avoid catching it.

  • Avoid being very near another person
    • “Social distance” means keeping about 6 feet apart (2 metres, or 3 big steps)
    • Be especially careful about keeping your distance from other people when you are eating or drinking
  • Wash your hands properly and frequently using soap and water
    • Although hands are lower risk vehicles for passing on COVID-19, they are higher risk for common colds, which share some symptoms with COVID-19.
    • Video: How to wash your hands properly
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Wear a mask as an added layer of protection
    • Government of Canada: COVID-19 mask use: How to choose, use and care for a mask
    • Although masks are no longer required in many places in Ontario, a good mask that is worn properly will offer an extra layer of protection when you are indoors or in a crowded situation.
    • Masks are still required for entry into Toronto General Hospital
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands

[Return to top]

Getting tested for COVID-19 in Ontario

Updated July 15th, 2022

Even if you think your symptoms are part of another known health condition, it is recommended that you still get tested for COVID-19 to rule it out. COVID-19 can happen at the same time as other health conditions.

PCR Test

Who is eligible for PCR testing

COVID-19 testing locations and clinical assessment centres

Rapid Antigen Tests

Individuals in Ontario can obtain free rapid antigen tests (RATs) at grocery stores and pharmacies. To find out where to get a test and how to use it, please visit the government’s website on Rapid testing for at-home use.

Rapid antigen tests using nasal samples are less sensitive for the Omicron variant compared to the Delta variant. In order to receive a reliable result, individuals should collect oral-nasal samples. Please have a look at:

This CBC article contains the following information:

  • When should I use a rapid test?
  • What does a negative result mean?
  • Should I use a rapid test before an event?
  • What’s the best technique for taking a test?
  • How many test kits should I keep at home?
  • Where to find a free rapid test in your province or territory

[Return to top]

Policies on self-isolation and quarantine

Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada, regardless of your vaccination status. However, if you must travel, please visit the Government of Canada’s website on Travel, testing and borders. Travelers who are fully vaccinated follow a different set of rules compared to those who are not.

[Return to top]

Reliable resources for information on COVID-19

There is a lot of information on the Internet about the current pandemic, but not everything is accurate.

Please visit the following websites for the most up-to-date and reliable information:

[Return to top]

What to do for appointments at our Clinic

Updated July 15th, 2022

Please do not come to the Clinic if you have any of the symptoms. Depending on your situation, you may be able to have your appointment remotely.

Please see our section on Clinic operations and hospital restrictions during COVID-19.

Please note that Toronto General Hospital has a Universal Masking Policy.

  • Cloth masks are not permitted at UHN.
  • Everyone entering UHN must wear a medical mask. If you are wearing a mask from home, you can get a medical mask at the entrance.
If you need to see a doctor for a problem that is very urgent but not life-threatening, and if you are unable to book an appointment with your family doctor, you can book an appointment with Toronto’s Virtual Emergency Department. You can receive care by phone, smartphone, tablet or computer. Please watch the video on their website to see the types of health issues that they can help you with.

[Return to top]

Support and financial assistance

While there are support services and financial assistance available, we urge you to be very careful about possible scams. Please visit the Government of Canada’s scam prevention website to learn how to protect yourself.

Support
Financial assistance

[Return to top]