With over 40% of Canadians having at least their first Covid-19 vaccine shot, it looks like there might be hope for those who want to travel domestically in Canada this summer.
While significant travel restrictions remain in place across the country, a continuous steady increase in vaccinations may mean reduced restrictions between the provinces if rates continue to go up.
Vaccinations Are Fastest Way to Domestic Travel This Summer
CBC interviewed an infectious disease expert, Dr. Lynora Saxinger, who says she feels fairly optimistic about domestic travel this summer. She said that even if a vaccine rollout is not complete, experience from elsewhere shows that once there’s 50 to 60% vaccination coverage of adults, transmission begins to drop significantly.
“I don’t know if I’d be planning something for June, but looking into late July and August, I’d be surprised if we didn’t see an ability to travel within your province for sure, and very likely between provinces.”
“At the moment, it actually looks pretty promising because the rate of vaccination is going up beautifully right now,” she said.
An assistant professor of medical microbiology at the University of Manitoba, Dr. Philippe Lagace-Wiens, also said he “can’t see a medical reason that we wouldn’t be able to travel between provinces.”, assuming that the uptake of vaccines is good.
He stressed that vaccination is the fastest way to be able to travel this summer within Canada.
“I think the fastest way to get back to a country that we can go to see the Rockies and come back and not have to self isolate is is to get immunized. I think that’s the big take-home message.”
Current Vaccination Rates in Canada
According to the CBC vaccine tracker, over 41% of Canadians have been given at least one shot as of May 12th.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that restrictions need to stay in place until at least 75% of the population has at least their first shot and community transmission is better controlled through testing, tracing, and tamping down on spread.
He said that Canada can have a better “one-dose” summer with fewer COVID-19 restrictions, like outdoor gatherings.
He also said that there will be enough Covid-19 vaccines in Canada to offer every eligible Canadian one-shot by summer, and enough doses for everyone to be fully vaccinated by September.
“And a one-dose summer sets us up for a two-dose fall when we’ll be able to talk about going back to school, back to work, and back to more normality”
Will International Travel Be Possible?
As plans for safe travel are announced internationally, particularly in Europe, the U.K., and the U.S., some travel and tourism experts have identified that Canada is behind other international markets.
“I think the Canadians tend to be lagging behind some other countries at the moment,” Dr. Frederic Dimanche, director at the Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Ryerson University, told Yahoo Canada.
“We see that the European countries have thought a lot more about reopening than the Canadians have.”
However, Trudeau has mentioned aligning with countries around the world on vaccine certification for travel. During a news conference, Trudeau said:
“Perhaps this summer, if everything goes well, it would make sense for us to align with partners around the world on some sort of proof of vaccination or vaccine certification”
“We are now working with allies, particularly in Europe, on that. But ultimately, it is up to every country to determine what requirements they expect from incoming travelers. We are looking very carefully at it, hoping to align with allied countries.”
Trudeau also said vaccine passports are “to be expected” – something that 80% of Canadians support for travel.
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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