Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says Canada lags behind other countries in uptake of booster doses, implores those who have not received a third dose to do so before what could be a “difficult” fall.
“Over the next few weeks, as our kids return to school or we return to the office, scheduling a booster dose should be high on our to-do lists,” Duclos said Thursday.
The federal push follows Health Canada’s announcement of authorization of the country’s first COVID-19 booster shot targeting variants, with the first delivery of 780,000 doses arriving on Friday and more than 10 million expected by the end of September.
Duclos said that while Canada leads other G7 countries in two-dose vaccinations, less than 60% of Canadian adults have received a third dose, which puts us behind all other G7 countries. exception of the United States.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), 49.5% of the total population received their primary series plus at least one additional dose, while only 12.4% of the population received a series primary as well as two additional doses.
Comparing vaccine protection to a phone battery, the health minister said both need to be recharged.
“We need to take steps to recharge our batteries and safely maintain our production level by staying up to date with our vaccinations,” Duclos said. “If it’s been six months or more since our last vaccination, well, it’s time for a booster.”
According to the Federal Minister of Health, PHAC has estimated that if Canada can increase its recall rate, the country could reduce up to 90% of hospitalizations related to COVID-19 by the end of the fall or the beginning of winter.
“It would support our healthcare workers who are tired and need our help,” Duclos said.
With pandemic restrictions largely lifted in all provinces and Canadians expected to spend more and more time indoors, doctors and epidemiologists are warning of an increase in COVID-19 cases this fall and winter.
Duclos’ calls were echoed Thursday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who, speaking to reporters in Manitoba, said that while everyone wishes COVID-19 was a thing of the past, it continues to spread across the country.
“As winter arrives and people are pushed indoors, there is a real risk of another severe wave of COVID. One of the best things we can do to prevent this wave, to prevent pressure on our health care system, to prevent the provinces from having to make decisions about restrictions and mandates, is to make sure that everyone is up to date on his vaccinations,” Trudeau said.
The Prime Minister added that if Canadians roll up their sleeves for an extra dose if they are due, it will “help us all get through this and keep life open and free as we want it to be”.