Ontario has administered thousands of third COVID doses to the immunocompromised

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Ontario has administered thousands of third doses of COVID-19 vaccine to some of the province's most vulnerable residents and will continue to do so despite the World Health Organization calling for a moratorium on the practice.

The global public health agency says vaccine-rich countries should stop offering third shots for the rest of the year so the shots can be diverted to under-vaccinated countries.

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott says the province had administered more than 14,500 third doses as of Tuesday night -- a number it plans to start reporting publicly.

Alexandra Hilkene says the added shots offer extra protection against COVID-19 to immunocompromised patients, such as transplant recipients, people receiving treatment for blood cancers, and those who have received an anti-CD20 agent.

She says the COVID-19 vaccine is not as effective in those people, and a third dose helps level the playing field for them.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunizations  on Friday recommended that people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised get a course of three shots of vaccine.