On July 4, Canadian Minister of Health, Jean-Yves Duclos, told reporters that Canadians will be required to receive a COVID-19 booster shot every nine months in order to remain “up to date,” asserting that the term “fully vaccinated” no longer makes sense, Blacklocks reported.
“Nine months is very clear and will help people understand why ‘up to date’ is the right way to think about vaccination now,” Duclos said, adding that, “Fully vaccinated makes no sense now. It’s about ‘up to date.’ So am I up to date in my vaccination? Have I received a vaccination in the last nine months?”
According to Canada’s health-info database, as of June 27, 85 percent of Canadians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and almost 90 percent of Canadians 5 years old and older have received one dose. Just over 56 percent of Canadians aged 5 to 11 have received one dose.
Until now, over 86 percent of Canadians, 5 years and older, were considered “fully vaccinated,” a number that plummets to just 42.34 percent for Canadians aged 5 to 11 years of age.
Duclos’ comments represent a major shift in how the Canadian government defines COVID-19 vaccination status for Canadians.
When asked if COVID-19 mandates, that were recently suspended, will be reinstated in the coming months Minister Duclos replied, “We must continue to fight against COVID” and that “we can look forward to continuing the fight in the fall.”
The Canadian government recently suspended vaccine mandates for domestic travelers. For months, unvaccinated Canadians were barred from boarding a plane or train to travel domestically, a policy that drew the ire of millions of Canadians.
Duclos hinted to reporters that these policies may be reinstated should Canada experience a surge in COVID-19 cases come the fall.
According to Blacklocks, when a reporter asked Duclos whether or not he is ruling out a return to mandates Duclos responded, “We want to be prepared for next fall and that requires an up to date vaccination which is based on the nine months.”
When asked, “Why hasn’t the government changed the definition of fully vaccinated to three doses instead of two?” Duclos again said, “We can look forward to continuing the fight in the fall.”
First two doses offer little protection
On June 30, Duclos and Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said that two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine offers little protection against emerging variants and urged Canadians to line up for a booster shot, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Canada’s state-funded media organization reported.
While COVID-19 cases in Canada remain relatively stable, health officials say they are bracing for a resurgence of the virus in late summer and early fall.
However, Canadians appear to be reluctant to continue to line up to receive additional doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
While Canada once led most countries in vaccination rates, when it comes to booster shots the country is now lagging behind other developed nations.
According to the CBC, only 60 percent of adults who received their first two doses have gone back for a booster.
“We’re behind most other G7 countries in our rate of third doses and we shouldn’t be behind, we’ve been ahead of all those other countries with two doses. We know we have the capacity to do better and we will be doing better,” Duclos said, according to the CBC.