By Nicole Garcia
In May 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that covid-19 was not a world health emergency anymore. Additionally, as of June 2023, the COVID-19 situation in Canada has improved significantly, with the country lifting most travel restrictions and border measures. However, the virus is still circulating, and it is important to stay informed about the current situation of COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.
COVID-19 Booster Shots for High-Risk Individuals
In March 2023, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended an additional COVID-19 booster dose for individuals at high risk of severe illness due to COVID-19. This includes immunocompromised adults and seniors, who may receive a booster shot at a standard interval of six or more months from their last vaccine dose or SARS-CoV-2 infection, whichever is longer. NACI suggests that bivalent, omicron-containing, mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines are the preferred option for booster shots.
As of now, NACI is not recommending an additional spring booster for the general population who have already received all their previous recommended doses.
COVID-19 Vaccination Rates and Impact
As of June 21, 2023, Canada has reported 4,686,867 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 52,804 deaths. By June 2, 2023, a total of 97,596,974 vaccine doses had been administered in the country. Rates of hospitalizations and deaths in Canada continue to be highest in unvaccinated individuals, particularly for adults 60 years of age and older.
Travel and Border Measures
As of October 1, 2022, COVID-19 border measures have ended for all travelers entering or returning to Canada by air, land, or sea. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is no longer required, and pre-board testing, pre-entry and arrival tests, and quarantine after entering Canada are not mandatory. However, it is still strongly recommended that travelers wear a high-quality and well-fitted mask or respirator while traveling.
Staying Informed and Protected
Although the COVID-19 situation in Canada has improved, the virus is still out there and it is important to stay informed about the latest updates and recommendations from health authorities. We should continue to follow public health guidelines, such as wearing masks in crowded or poorly ventilated indoor settings, practicing good hand hygiene, and getting vaccinated or receiving booster shots as recommended.
By following public health guidelines and getting vaccinated or receiving booster shots as recommended, we can continue to protect ourselves and our communities from the virus.
Please consult with your doctor or any health care provider for more information.