Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says that Canadians will likely never be considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and that the government's understanding of an "up-to-date" vaccination status has also shifted.
In a press conference on Thursday, June 30, Duclos talked about the current vaccination rates in Canada and went over what the future might look like.
"We will never be fully vaccinated against COVID-19," said the health minister. "Like the virus, our immunity also evolves and Omicron made us understand that two doses are no longer enough."
"We have to maintain our vaccination [as] up to date."
Duclos went on to share a definition of what exactly "up to date" means going forward, in terms of COVID-19 vaccine doses.
"Let me be very clear: 'up to date' means you've received your last dose in the past nine months," he said.
He continued, "If you've already received your first booster — that's great. Go see if you're eligible for a second or third to remain up to date."
The federal health minister also urged those who have only received their first series of two shots without a booster, even if they've been infected with COVID-19, to get up to date.
Otherwise, he says, they could risk getting "reinfected with all the downfall, including the risk of developing symptoms of long COVID."
This comes after the recent report by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommending everyone aged 12 and older be given access to another booster shot this fall.
NACI also put extra emphasis on getting booster shots to vulnerable communities such as those 65 and older, people who live in congregate settings and people who live or have lived in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.
Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.