Even as countries around the world have moved on from Covid and have learned to live with the virus, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is threatening Canadians with more restrictions and mandates if 80-90% of eligible Canadians are not “up-to-date” with their Covid vaccines.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Trudeau warned Canadians that “there is a real risk of a serious wave of Covid” as the fall begins and that the best way to avoid government restrictions and mandates is to be “up-to-date” on Covid shots.

“If we are able to hit that 80%, 85%, 90% of Canadians up-to-date in their vaccinations, we’ll have a much better winter with much less need for the kind of restrictions and rules that were so problematic for everyone over the past years,” said Trudeau.

The prime minister touted the recently approved bivalent vaccines, designed to target the specific Omicron variant. 

“Everyone who has been a while since their vaccination … should look at the fact that we have new vaccines coming out this month that are tailored against Omicron that will provide better protection and everyone should get out and get vaccinated,” said Trudeau. 

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos echoed the prime minister’s comments last week, comparing vaccinations to recharging “your phone battery.”

“Vaccine protection is like a phone battery. It needs to be recharged from time to time. Recharging our protection after six months is important, otherwise, we are left without the power to protect ourselves and our loved ones,” said Duclos.

“When protection wanes, action is required just like a phone battery. Your phone battery needs to be recharged for your phone to work, to have appropriate power to operate and for your vaccination protection to be affected, so you recharge your phone battery by plugging it into the electricity.”

Currently, booster uptake has been lower than the primary series of the Covid-19 vaccine. Only 49.57% of Canadians have received a Covid booster in addition to their two primary doses. 

While the Government of Canada currently recommends Canadians get a booster “if it has been more than 6 months since your last vaccine dose,” senior advisors to the Department of Health have suggested that Canadians should be recommended a booster Covid shot every three months.

National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) officials said that quarterly boosters “may be warranted” to combat Covid-19.