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Justin Trudeau takes a selfie in his home office. Right: Justin Trudeau and Dr. Theresa Tam sit side-by-side during a press conference.

Justin Trudeau takes a selfie in his home office. Right: Justin Trudeau and Dr. Theresa Tam sit side-by-side during a press conference.

The federal government is planning to change the definition of what it means to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Canada to bring it in line with recommendations from health experts.

On Tuesday, June 14, a number of government officials held a press conference to announce changes to Canada's travel restrictions, namely the removal of vaccine mandates for domestic and international travel.

During the conference, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos urged eligible Canadians to get their third or fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine "as soon as possible."

He said that all adults in Canada should get their booster doses as it's "the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the incidence of long COVID," among other things.

"Although two doses still protect significantly well against severe disease and death, two doses are not enough now to protect against infection and transmission," he continued.

"That is why we are transitioning now to an 'up-to-date' vaccination definition of what it means to be adequately protected against COVID-19."

Right now, Canada's definition of "fully vaccinated" for most people is two doses of Health Canada's approved vaccines.

However, to bring the definition in line with recommendations from health experts like Dr. Theresa Tam, it's expected to change to mean being "up to date" with COVID-19 vaccines.

"'Fully protected with two doses' doesn't work anymore," Duclos said on Tuesday, referencing earlier comments made by Dr. Tam about the importance of getting a third vaccine.

He later added, "Our rate of boosters in Canada is too low. It's lower than all other G7 countries."

Speaking last week, Dr. Tam described the current definition as "not up to date," and confirmed she is pushing for a new definition of what it means to be fully vaccinated in Canada.

"[A] mandate is a policy decision that takes account many different factors and it's up to the policymakers at this time to make that difficult decision," she said, per Global News.

She added that she would "always be going with recommending 'up to date,'" as the preferred policy wording, rather than just two doses.

On Tuesday, Duclos confirmed that it could take weeks or even months to implement new definitions and therefore new vaccine policies, due to the work that would have to be done with provinces and territories.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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