US and Canadian Politicians have been shaking their heads. For whatever reason the Biden administration has dragged its feet by not opening the northern border. This summer, Canada took the first step of allowing fully vaccinated US travellers to cross north with the expectation the US would reciprocate. Unfortunately with the southern US states having a 4th wave of covid infections the decision was postponed. With covid waning, and vaccinations up, the excuses are over – its time to re-open.
Every country in the world recognizes the importance of international travel, tourists and getting back to normal. As we have found though, getting back to normal has been exceptionally complicated. Happily, because of how successful the Covid vaccines have been – the US and Canada can safely open its border to those who are “fully vaccinated”. If your unvaccinated or partially vaccinated this blog is not for you.
So what has delayed the opening? Other then the 4th resurgence of Covid (primarily amongst the unvaccinated) the US has found it is not quite prepared. First of all they do not have a comparable “Arrive Can” computer system in place that tracks and verifies those who are fully, partially or just not vaccinated travellers. Apparently it is almost ready, but as of yet has not been rolled out.
The second issue and one that has been a major quandary revolves around the definition of “fully vaccinated”. The US intends to only allow those who are not compromised by the virus to enter its’ country. They are therefore adopting the World Health Organizations approved vaccines as the criteria for entry. WHO for example approves Astra Zeneca.
From a Canadian perspective (and some European Union members) that is great AZ is on the list. Since it was one of the first vaccines available outside of the USA and produces very good protection it is a sensible inclusion. But the glass is only 1/2 full. Neither WHO nor the USA recognize the Mixing and Matching of vaccines which a large amount of people have because of the lack of availability. To say it simply, your not considered “fully vaccinated” if you have a shot of AZ + shot of MRNA.
Canadian Health Officials for months have been pressing the US to open the border and to accept Canadians who have had Mix and Matches as being “fully vaccinated. Just last week two studies were released by Quebec and British Columbia proving the mixes were tremendously successful. The studies were shared with the US and WHO counterparts.
So where are we now? I am betting the land border is going to open on November 1, for Canadians who are “fully vaccinated” based on WHO criteria. Canadians with Mix and Matches might not meet the criteria for entry. When questioned at the White House on Sept. 27th, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “Our objective, of course, is to return to overland travel, just like we’re working toward returning to international travel (to begin November 1), but we leave it to them (health officials) to make that determination.”
There is a lot of pressure being placed on the US government to get its act in gear. Open the border – The Canadian American Business Council’s chief executive officer Maryscott Greenwood came out with a classic comment, “The continued border closure defies logic”.
So lets see, I am betting the land border is going to open November 1, to coincide with the new US flying regulations. Snowbird Migration is about to begin! For those with mixes and matches – there will be a slight delay in obtaining US and WHO approval, but everyone will eventually agree that mix and matches are A-OK.