November 27, 2022

Canadians seeking COVID-19 vaccines in US should be essential travellers: congressman – National

Canadians who want a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States should be allowed to cross the border as essential travellers in order to get the shot, says a U.S. congressman.

“I think that we should open up the U.S. border to Canadians who want vaccines and can’t get them in Canada,” said New York Democrat Brian Higgins in an interview with The West Block‘s Mercedes Stephenson on Sunday.

“We have surplus vaccines here in the United States, here in western New York that are not being used. And if they’re not being used, they get discarded as medical waste. Why shouldn’t a Canadian come over to our community and get vaccinated?”

“Somebody seeking a vaccine should be allowed to come over and they should be deemed an essential traveler,” Higgins added.

His comments come as frustration mounts among Canadian mayors whose communities lie along the border with the U.S., and who say they are being stymied by red tape from Canadian health officials when they try to take up offers from American counterparts to share vaccines.

Story continues below advertisement

They also come amid calls on the Canadian government from tourism industry stakeholders to provide more clarity on when the border will reopen and what rules will be in place for fully vaccinated travellers.

READ MORE: Vaccines ‘being thrown out’ in U.S. should go to Canadians, mayors say

Mayors from the Ontario cities of Windsor and Niagara Falls told the House of Commons health committee last week that coveted doses of the lifesaving vaccines are being thrown out just a few kilometres across the border every day. They said there’s no reason the cities should be barred from accepting offers from pharmacists and local officials to share the doses with Canadians.

“We have 35,000 doses that hit the trash two kilometers away from where I’m sitting at the very moment,” Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said to the committee on Monday.

Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati told Global News he’s also been forced to turn down offers.

“Our American counterparts are asking us, ‘We’ve got these extra vaccines. Are you interested in them before we throw them in the landfill?’ We’d rather put them into an arm than a landfill,” he said.

“And we’ve got arms here that would be willing hosts for these vaccines.”

READ MORE: U.S. offers COVID-19 vaccine to some B.C. border residents

David Musyj, president and CEO at Windsor Regional Hospital, told Global News the owners of the Ambassador Bridge running between Windsor and Detroit sent a proposal to the federal and Ontario government proposing setting up a vaccination centre at the end of the U.S. section of the bridge.

Story continues below advertisement

The idea, he said, was that Canadians could drive across, receive their vaccine without leaving their vehicle, and drive right back across the bridge, or meet at a site in the border tunnel between the two cities where an American nurse could give them the shot across the border boundary.

But the Public Health Agency of Canada has rejected such offers, according to a letter obtained by Global News that said having a nurse reach across the border to give the shot would constitute “importation of product,” which isn’t allowed.

“With respect to the set up of the proposed clinic, please be aware that vaccine cannot be imported into Canadian space without the express consent of Health Canada. It is our understanding that actual vaccination, in other words, administration of the vaccine into a patient’s arm, will occur on the U.S. side of the border,” stated the letter.

“However, if the U.S. nurse or pharmacist reaches across the border to administer it to a person in Canada, that is considered importation of product and requires an expression of no objection from Health Canada.”


Click to play video: 'Biden says 52% of adults fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in U.S.'







Biden says 52% of adults fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in U.S.


Biden says 52% of adults fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in U.S – Jun 2, 2021

Nearly half of Americans have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, and the country faced criticism over its ban on exporting vaccines to other countries. Canada’s early supplies of the vaccines came from factories in Europe, but are now starting to arrive from the U.S. facilities of Pfizer and Moderna amid a significant jump in supply.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: ‘Sad and disappointed’: COVID-19 vaccination clinics at Alberta-US border cancelled

Roughly 70 per cent of eligible Canadians have now received at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

But the rate of second-dose vaccination remains low at just over nine per cent, as of Friday.

Higgins said the widening availability of vaccines highlights the need for Canadian and U.S. officials to commit to a “better vision” on how to reopen the border, focusing first on fully vaccinated people.

“I think that if you allow people that have been vaccinated to cross the border, that would be an incentive for people that may be skeptical of vaccines or are afraid of needles,” he said.

‘There should be some recognition of those who have been fully vaccinated to be able to reunite with loved ones, to be able to visit their properties and to be able to transact business toward the goal of a larger opening of the U.S.-Canadian border.”

With files from Global’s Rachel Gilmore.

View link »





© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Related Posts

U.S. Congress passes $1.2T infrastructure bill after weeks of Democrat infighting – National

November 6, 2021

November 6, 2021

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $1.2 trillion package of road and other infrastructure projects late Friday after...

Liberals table bill to safeguard French in sweeping update to Official Languages Act

June 15, 2021

June 15, 2021

The Liberals are tabling legislation to beef up protection of French in Canada as part of the biggest overhaul...

O’Toole speculates he’s the ‘only’ leader who is proud of Canada amid calls to cancel Canada Day – National

June 27, 2021

June 27, 2021

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole speculated that he could be the only person running to be prime minister who is...

Fully vaccinated Canadian travellers can skip hotel quarantine come July: feds – National

June 9, 2021

June 9, 2021

The federal government on Wednesday announced that “fully vaccinated” Canadian travellers will no longer require mandatory COVID-19 hotel quarantine...

Conservative MP Tim Uppal sorry for role in ‘divisiveness’ of Harper-era policies

June 14, 2021

June 14, 2021

A former Conservative cabinet minister is apologizing for not pushing against his party’s culturally divisive policies of the Stephen...

The West Block — Episode 36, Season 10 – National

May 30, 2021

May 30, 2021

THE WEST BLOCK Episode 36, Season 10 Sunday, May 30, 2021 Host: Mercedes Stephenson Guests: Retired Lt.-Col. Mark Popov,...

House of Commons issues first formal rebuke to non-MP in nearly 110 years over Winnipeg lab docs – National

June 21, 2021

June 21, 2021

The president of the Public Health Agency of Canada is now the first non-MP in more than a 100...

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou loses publication ban bid on evidence at extradition hearing

June 25, 2021

June 25, 2021

By Staff The Canadian Press Posted June 24, 2021 10:03 pm Smaller font Descrease...

Who is Naftali Bennett, Israel’s first new prime minister in over 12 years? – National

June 13, 2021

June 13, 2021

JERUSALEM (AP) — Naftali Bennett, who was sworn in Sunday as Israel’s new prime minister, embodies many of the...

French President Emmanuel Macron slapped in face while greeting crowd – National

June 8, 2021

June 8, 2021

French President Emmanuel Macron received a rude welcome while greeting locals in southeastern France on Tuesday, when someone in...

Anti-vax doctor mocked for claiming that shots will ‘magnetize’ people – National

June 9, 2021

June 9, 2021

Are you sick and tired of peeling forks off your head and car keys off your fingers? Are you...

Trump’s personal priorities leaving Republican agenda in limbo, party members say – National

June 6, 2021

June 6, 2021

Republicans are fighting to seize control of Congress. Just don’t ask what they’d do if they win. Look no...

Conservative MP Richard Lehoux tests positive for COVID-19 – National

November 20, 2021

November 20, 2021

Conservative MP Richard Lehoux has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement issued Saturday. “Today, out of an...

Senate Republicans block U.S. Capitol riot probe, flaunting loyalty to Trump – National

May 29, 2021

May 29, 2021

Senate Republicans on Friday blocked creation of a bipartisan panel to investigate the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the...

Green Party MP Jenica Atwin crossing the floor to join the Liberal Party

June 10, 2021

June 10, 2021

Green Party MP Jenica Atwin is crossing the floor to join the Liberal Party, according to multiple reports, including...