Nova Scotians Vaccinated Outside of Province Say They’re Unable to Get Health Records Updated

Some Nova Scotians who received a COVID-19 vaccine outside the province say they’re having trouble getting their health record updated to reflect their true vaccination status.

They’re also worried that this means the province’s official vaccination tallies aren’t accurate, something officials from the Health Department say is unlikely.

Scott McKellar, who lives in Dartmouth, said he received his first vaccine dose in early June when he was passing through Florida on his way back from the Bahamas, where he spent the winter. About a month later, he got his second shot in Nova Scotia.

“When we got our second jab, we were informed that we would not officially be recognized as being fully vaccinated.”

Mr. McKellar said he has a card from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stating that he received a vaccine there, but he’s been told his personal health record will not be updated. However, a note on his file will prevent him from getting another COVID-19 vaccine in Nova Scotia.

No records for out-of-province vaccinations

Kristen Lipscombe, a spokesperson for the provincial Health Department, said COVID-19 immunization records can only be issued to Nova Scotians who received their doses in the province, but the department is exploring ways to produce records for those who got vaccinated elsewhere.

Mr. McKellar said he’s concerned that his documentation could impede his freedom to travel or access other services if a vaccine passport doesn’t show him as being fully vaccinated.

“If I was boarding a plane from Halifax to Tampa, for example. I don’t have the same record as everybody else in Nova Scotia. … Inevitably, somebody is going to show up [and say] … ‘We don’t know if we can let you on the plane because your record is different than everybody else’s record.’ You know, I mean, that type of snafu is just waiting to occur.”

A spokesperson for Health Canada did not respond to a question about how international vaccinations could affect a Canadian’s ability to obtain a vaccine passport.

The spokesperson said vaccinations received by Canadians in another country are only captured by provincial or territorial registries if people voluntarily submit their proof of vaccination.

The Public Health Agency of Canada’s immunization data is obtained from those registries, and the agency itself does not track vaccinations obtained by Canadians elsewhere.


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