Important Update: The Canadian Government has released new information that will now require all Canadians who have traveled to the U.S. to receive a medically necessary vaccine to quarantine for 14 days upon return.
Original Story Now Continues.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has confirmed that Canadians are allowed to drive to the United States to receive the Covid-19 vaccine and be exempt from quarantine upon returning home.
The only documentation required is a note from a doctor that the vaccine is medically necessary and a proof of vaccination card must be presented upon return.
Quarantine rules issued by the federal government says that Canadians who travel abroad for essential medical services do not have to quarantine upon returning home.
The information was confirmed by a Health Canada official in an an email to David Musyj who is the head of the Windsor Regional Hospital in Windsor Ontario.
“It does verify our interpretation of the current order in council/website information is accurate, that a COVID-19 vaccine is an ‘essential medical service or treatment,’ Musyj said. “It makes it clear the exemption is permissive.”
While the border is closed to non-essential traffic, receiving the Covid-19 vaccine recommended by a doctor would be a permissible reason to cross.
While health officials did confirm the exemption to quarantine, they were strict regarding any other non-essential stops. Canadians who do cross the border for a vaccine must not stop for shopping, entertainment or any other activities that are not essential to their trip.
“Very clear: You need to go to the appointment only and return immediately,” Musyj told CTV News. “Cannot stop anywhere else for anything.”
Officials are warning Canadians that the decision is ultimately up to border officials on both ends and that all paperwork must be in order. When returning to Canada, travelers must present the letter from their doctor and the proof of vaccination in order to receive an exemption from quarantine.
Even with all paperwork, border officials will make the final decision on whether a returning traveler will be exempt the 14 day self isolation period.
Canadian Public health officials are also reminding Canadians that when crossing the border for a vaccine, they can only bring one support person with them.
A private vehicle must be used for the trip.
While vaccines have been ramping up in Canada, many hurdles remain including long delays of up to 4 months to receive a second dose. Canadians who have time to quarantine upon return have been traveling to the U.S. by air to receive their vaccine.
38-year-old Terry White of Calgary traveled to the U.S. by air to receive the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. She told Travel Off Path in an interview that she didn’t want to wait 4 months before her second shot.
“I took my health into my own hands. I was fully vaccinated in Detroit less than 24 hours after making my decision,” White stated. “I booked my one dose shot at Walmart and got on a plane.”
While White did have to face a 3 day hotel quarantine and testing to return home to Canada, she said it was worth the trouble to have the peace of mind and be done with it.
According to the CDC, 37.5% of Americans are now fully vaccinated.
In comparison, Canada has fully vaccinated 3.3% of its population.
It should be noted that 46.04% of the population in Canada has received their first shot.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories