Canada to update definition of what it takes to be "fully vaccinated" against COVID-19

Jun 15 2022, 3:56 pm

It seems like Canadians who have received two doses and a booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine will no longer be considered fully vaccinated.

During Tuesday’s announcement of the Liberals suspending its vaccine mandate for domestic and outbound travellers, Canada’s Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the government is planning on changing its definition, shifting instead to an “up-to-date” vaccination.

Currently, “fully vaccinated” is defined by public health as having two doses of any Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine.

“What we also know from Dr. Tam and every other expert on COVID-19 is, although two doses still protect significantly well against severe disease and death, two doses are not enough now to protect against infection and transmission,” said Duclos.

The health minister says the government is transitioning to an “up-to-date” vaccination definition of “what it means to be adequately protected against COVID-19” but didn’t clarify when the new definition would begin.

Citing Dr. Theresa Tam, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, Duclos said being “fully protected with two doses doesn’t work anymore.” He says the term “up-to-date vaccination” needs to be used when talking about what Canadians should do and “what we should expect of Canadians.”

Duclos says the government will “take advantage in the next few weeks and months” and work closely with Canadian provinces and territories to “increase significantly” the rate of third doses, to start.

The minister says the rate of booster shots in Canada is “too low — lower than all other G7 countries,” citing that the overall rate is “not good.”

According to the Government of Canada website, 31,251,934 people (81.7%) are “fully vaccinated,” by its current definition. Over 18 million people (48.6%) have received a booster shot in Canada and 2.3 million (7%) have received four total COVID-19 jabs.

Duclos says “we know we can do better” and that the government did “really well” with administering two doses in the past year and a half. He says the health system is now “better prepared and sufficiently prepared” for what “may be coming in the fall.”

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