Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says Canadians should get a COVID booster shot every nine months so that their vaccination status stays “up-to-date.”
“What exactly do we mean by up-to-date vaccination? Let me be very clear: Up-to-date means you’ve received your last dose in the past nine months,” said Duclos in a press conference on June 30.
“If you’ve already received a first booster, that’s great, and please see if you’re eligible for a second or a third booster to remain up-to-date.”
Duclos was joined virtually by federal chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam and Dr. Matthew Tunis, executive secretary to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), to provide updates on COVID-19 and other public health restrictions, including border measures.
“‘Fully vaccinated’ makes no sense now, so it’s about ‘up-to-date,’” the health minister said, adding that the mindset of being “up-to-date” is the “right way” to think about vaccination from now on.
He argued that the immunity conferred by two doses of COVID vaccines administered last year “has now waned.”
“While you might have gotten infected, risk is high you could get reinfected, with all the downfall, including the risk of developing symptoms of long COVID,” he said.
Tam echoed Duclos’ message, saying new variants of the COVID-19 virus continue to emerge and spread worldwide.
“Up-to-date vaccination remains the foundation of our protection individually and collectively, to help reduce the spread that leads to resurgence and to significantly lower the risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19,” she said.
A report by the NACI on June 29 said the agency would “continue to monitor the evidence” to provide guidance on the type and timing of COVID-19 vaccines for subsequent booster doses.
The recommendations include offering booster shots to people who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, such as residents at long-term-care homes, prisoners, and the general public aged 65 and over.
“NACI recommends that all other individuals 12 to 64 years of age may be offered a fall COVID-19 booster dose regardless of the number of booster doses previously received,” the report said.