When Amanda Henderson Jones got the email that her university would be offering COVID-19 vaccines on campus across the border in Detroit, she knew getting one would be the quickest way to ensure she could re-join in-person classes come September.
She’s a law student at the University of Windsor’s Canadian & American Dual J.D. Program, where several of the classes are taught at the University of Detroit Mercy.
“We were hoping that if we got the vaccine, we’d be able to return to campus,” she told Daily Hive. “We figured it’s best to get it.”
After clarifying with the university that Canadian students were included in the eligibility, Henderson Jones renewed her student visa and got in a friend’s car to drive 20 minutes across the border to the campus clinic.
Coming back home to Windsor took more logistical work. Henderson Jones and her friend needed to figure out what pre-crossing COVID-19 test was necessary, take a second test at the border, and quarantine for two weeks once at home with a third self-administered test at the 10-day mark.
She got her first vaccine dose on April 13 and is set to get her second in early May. She’ll have quarantined for a total of four weeks by the time she’s fully vaccinated.
“Because I was in a different position with school, of course, I’d do it again,” she said. “My top priority is returning to school ASAP.”
For those who can work from home, waiting for a shot in Canada would be less hassle, she said.
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Henderson Jones is part of a collection of Canadians who are going to the US for one reason or another to get vaccinated before they’d be eligible in Canada.
Although they didn’t want to go on the record, Daily Hive spoke to a number of Canadians who own property in the US or are dual citizens who travelled to the US in order to get their shot.
Some states don’t require individuals to be residents to get a vaccine, and Alaska will begin offering shots to tourists landing at the state’s major airports starting in June.
— Governor Mike Dunleavy (@GovDunleavy) April 16, 2021
But some Canadian health officials say going to the US for a vaccine puts the traveller at risk of exposure to COVID-19 along the way.
“I can appreciate that some people might see this as an opportunity to help free up spots [in Canada],” Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, said at a news conference Wednesday. “But there is currently a Stay-at-Home order in place … The more we move around, the more we contribute to COVID-19 spread.”
A spokesperson for the Public Health Agency of Canada told Daily Hive Canadians should still avoid non-essential travel outside the country until further notice.
“Now is not the time to travel,” the spokesperson said. “COVID-19 vaccines are free and will be made available to everyone in Canada for whom they are approved and recommended for use.”
Everyone entering Canada from abroad must get tested for COVID-19 and undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine, regardless of vaccination status.