British Columbians who are facing potential travel restrictions after receiving mixed COVID-19 vaccines are being asked to “be patient.”
That’s the message from Health Minister Adrian Dix, who discussed some of the restraints in an interview with Daily Hive. He says that there are approximately 400,000 people in the province that either mixed AstraZeneca with Moderna or Pfizer, or mixed doses of the mRNA vaccines.
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“I think what I’d say to everyone is be patient,” Dix tells Daily Hive. “That these measures and restrictions are evolving, right?”
“For the moment, anyway, we don’t go across the border to the United States but that day is coming and I believe that, in the midterm, we’re not going to see much of a problem there.”
While not directly related to travel, one of the first examples of restrictions based on COVID-19 vaccinations was observed in mid-June.
Anyone who wished to attend “Springsteen on Broadway” in New York between June and September would be required to show proof of vaccination. For a period of time, however, AstraZeneca wasn’t an accepted COVID-19 vaccine as it wasn’t FDA approved.
The requirement was quickly amended to allow for individuals who received AstraZeneca.
And according to a report from The Associated Press, the United States has plans to require all incoming foreign travellers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. But that’s just one example of some of the constraints related to vaccination and travel.
The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, for example, won’t allow entry to non-nationals that aren’t fully vaccinated. To be fully vaccinated under the Republic’s standards, however, an individual needs either two doses of the same vaccine or the AstraZeneca vaccine followed by Pfizer or Moderna.
Individuals who mixed mRNA vaccines aren’t considered fully vaccinated.
In a similar vein, the COVISHIELD vaccine, which was approved for use in Canada in late February, isn’t authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). This means that some Canadians travelling to European countries, such as Italy, would need to quarantine upon arrival.
Much of the COVID-19 vaccine that BC received throughout 2021 has varied based on the specific month. The province received almost exclusively Pfizer in April and May, and the vast majority in June was Moderna.
Dix remains confident, however, that all British Columbians will be recognized, including those who received AstraZeneca or COVISHELD.
“We think ultimately they’ll be recognized and that people need to be patient,” he says. “With respect to AstraZeneca, this is a very successful vaccine. We got almost all of our AstraZeneca from the United States.”
Dix believes it’s unlikely that the United States, specifically, would say no to the tens of millions of individuals who received AstraZeneca in the United Kingdom or the millions in Canada.
“I think that people just need to be patient and that problem, we hope, will resolve itself.”