According to US Customs and Border Protection, Canadians hoping to cross the border for the sole purpose of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will be denied.
In a statement to CTVNews.ca on Wednesday, a CBP spokesperson said the Canadian-U.S. border remains restricted to “essential travel” only in accordance with the travel restrictions that have been in place since March 2020.
“Travel for the sole purpose of obtaining a vaccination is not permissible under current travel restrictions,” they said.
However, the spokesperson added that if the person enters the U.S. for “legitimate travel reasons,” and they receive a vaccine incidental to their trip, “it is not part of the overall admissibility determination.”
The U.S. border agency’s position has created confusion for Canadians who thought they would be allowed to cross the border by land to obtain a vaccine after the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said it may be considered an “essential medical service,” under certain conditions, and therefore the traveller would be exempt from quarantining for 14 days upon their return to Canada.
Those conditions include written evidence from a licensed healthcare provider in Canada indicating that medical services or treatments outside Canada are essential and written proof from a licensed healthcare practitioner in the U.S. that the services were provided. The traveller would also have to travel in a private vehicle, with only one other support person, and would not be allowed to make any other stops during the trip.
CTV News has reached out to Health Canada for further clarification on this matter.
The president and CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital in Windsor, Ontario said it was “disappointing for the lack of clarity and consistency on such an important issue. We need clarity and leadership,” he said.
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