On July 4, 2022, Canadian Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said Canadians may be required to get a COVID-19 booster shot every nine months to protect themselves against new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Duclos said, “The virus evolves and Omicron made us aware we will never be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. We have to maintain our vaccinations up to date.”1
Currently in Canada, “fully vaccinated” is defined by Health Canada as having two doses of any of the public health agency’s approved COVID vaccine.2
“Fully Vaccinated” Makes No Sense Anymore Says Canadian Health Minister
Minister Duclos’ message may be directed to people who have not received their first booster.3 Government officials in Canada have said that, as of June 19, 2022, almost 81 percent of the total population has received the first two COVID shots but only 49 percent of the population has received a booster shot.4
Colin Furness, PhD, an epidemiologist from the University of Toronto and Nazeem Muhajarine, PhD, an epidemiologist from University of Saskatchewan, said that uptake for the third dose of a COVID shot has been slow in comparison to that of the first and second doses due to the fact that the vaccine was initially presented to the public as being comprised of two doses, giving people the idea that was all they needed to do to prevent having a serious case of COVID disease.5
Dr. Furness said:
That’s the mental model that most people had. So when we started to say you kind of need a third dose now … [they] said, ‘You sold us an idea that there was a two-dose vaccine and I signed on, now you’re changing the deal and I don’t like that, I’m walking away.’6
When asked if the COVID vaccine mandate would return in the fall of 2022, Minister Duclos responded:
We must continue to fight against COVID. We want to be prepared for next fall, and that requires an up-to-date vaccination, which is based on the nine months.7
Minister Duclos also made it clear that no one is “fully vaccinated” anymore. He said:
Nine months is very clear and will help people understand why ‘up-to-date’ is the right way to think about vaccination now. 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?” He added that, “Up-to-date’ means you have received your last dose in the past nine months. If you’ve already received a first booster, that’s great. Please see if you’re eligible for a second or third booster to remain up-to-date.8
Majority of Canadians Willing to Get a COVID Booster
According to the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) conducted in the fall of 2021, 86 percent of Canadians aged 12 and older reported that they were “very” or “somewhat likely” to get a COVID booster shot.9
The survey showed differences across different populations with respect to willingness to receive a COVID booster dose. From September to mid-November 2021, women were slightly more likely than men to report being willing to get a booster dose (87 percent versus 85 percent). Among youth aged 12 to 17.84 percent reported a willingness to get a booster, which was similar to adults aged 18 to 49 (83 percent). Older Canadians aged 50 and older reported higher booster dose willingness (89 percent) compared with the younger age groups.10
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Click here to view References:
1 Mellor S. ‘We will never be fully vaccinated against COVID’: Canadians may be required to get booster shot every 9 months. Fortune July 5, 2022.
2 Jadah T. Canada to update definition of what it takes to be “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19. Daily Hive June 15, 2022.
3 Mellor S. ‘We will never be fully vaccinated against COVID’: Canadians may be required to get booster shot every 9 months. Fortune July 5, 2022.
4 Government of Canada. COVID-19 vaccination in Canada. Health Infobase Canada June 27, 2022.
5 Ferreira J. It’s ‘high time’ that authorities revise definition of ‘fully vaccinated’: experts. CTV News June 7, 2022.
7 Mellor S. ‘We will never be fully vaccinated against COVID’: Canadians may be required to get booster shot every 9 months. Fortune July 5, 2022.
8 Horwood M. Health minister says vaccine boosters will be required every nine months. Western Standard News Jul 4, 2022.
9 Statistics Canada. Majority of Canadians are willing to get a COVID-19 booster dose. Mar. 15, 2022.
10 Ferreira J. It’s ‘high time’ that authorities revise definition of ‘fully vaccinated’: experts. CTV News June 7, 2022.