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Canada Will Change Its Definition Of What It Means To Be Fully Protected Against COVID-19

"Fully protected with two doses doesn't work anymore."

Senior Editor
COVID-19 vaccination site in Scarborough, Ontario, in May 2021.

COVID-19 vaccination site in Scarborough, Ontario, in May 2021.

Canada will move to a new definition of what it means to be "fully protected" against COVID-19, federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced at a press conference Wednesday.

He explained that "although two doses still protect significantly well against severe disease and death, two doses are not enough now to protect against infection and transmission."

Instead, he said the government will transition to using the phrase "up to date" to describe vaccinated individuals it considers fully protected. The Government of Ontario, for example, considers a person is "up to date" on their vaccinations when they have "received all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses, including any booster dose(s) when eligible."

"It's now 'up-to-date vaccination' that needs to be used when we talk about what Canadians should do, what we should expect of Canadians and what this government should be expected to do in the future," Duclos continued.

The minister encouraged all eligible adults to seek a third or fourth vaccine dose and added that the federal government will be working with provinces to boost third dose rates. Currently, he said, about 60% of Canadian adults have had a booster shot.

Duclos' comments followed a June 10 statement by Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam in which she recommended the use of the term "up to date," but left it up to policymakers to determine the implications of the phrase "for administrative or travel or other purposes."

Right now, for example, travellers entering Canada are considered "fully vaccinated" if they've had two doses of an approved vaccine or vaccines or one dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Health Canada did not respond to an inquiry from MTL Blog about how the change in definition could affect border measures.

Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.

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