January 22, 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

Trudeau not committing to timeline for independent military sexual misconduct system – National

July 2, 2021

July 2, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not committing to having a plan for implementing an independent reporting system for military sexual...

Commons committee calls for reforms in lobbying measures after WE Charity scandal – National

June 10, 2021

June 10, 2021

A parliamentary committee issued a scathing report Thursday on the Trudeau government’s now-cancelled deal with WE Charity that includes...

Will Canada’s hotel quarantine rules be lifted? Feds to talk to provinces about possibility – National

May 28, 2021

May 28, 2021

Canada’s federal government is opening the door to ending its mandatory three-day hotel quarantine stay for air travellers. The...

Russia’s Kremlin cracks down on dissent before September parliamentary election – National

June 1, 2021

June 1, 2021

Russian authorities are cracking down on dissent before a crucial parliamentary election in September, in what a leading Kremlin...

Trump’s White House records on Jan. 6 attack can be accessed by Congress, judge rules – National

November 10, 2021

November 10, 2021

A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that a U.S. House of Representatives committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 attack...

N.S. Mi’kmaq to start season with scaled-down plans for fishery in St. Marys Bay

May 27, 2021

May 27, 2021

By Staff The Canadian Press Posted May 27, 2021 2:50 pm Smaller font Descrease...

B.C. Floods: Federal government sends over 500 troops for relief efforts

November 21, 2021

November 21, 2021

One week removed from torrential rainfall that led to disastrous flooding in British Columbia, the federal government laid out...

Belarus sinks deeper into isolation after journalist’s dramatic arrest – National

May 25, 2021

May 25, 2021

Belarus’ isolation deepened Tuesday as commercial jets avoided its airspace, the European Union worked up new sanctions, and officials...

‘Pure insanity’: U.S. Justice Department refused Trump’s request to overturn election – National

June 15, 2021

June 15, 2021

Former President Donald Trump pressed the Justice Department during his waning weeks in office to join his failed effort...

COMMENTARY: How will Justin Trudeau clean up his military mess? – National

June 25, 2021

June 25, 2021

For decades, critics have labelled Canada’s top military brass an “old boys club” that protects their own. Has there...

10 things you need to know about B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

May 25, 2021

May 25, 2021

On Tuesday, British Columbia launched a restart plan laying out a post-COVID-19 pandemic life. Here are 10 big things...

Biden thanks Americans as U.S. hits 300M COVID-19 vaccine shots in 150 days – National

June 18, 2021

June 18, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden took a cautious victory lap Friday in his quest to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under...

Air Canada’s $10M bonuses ‘unacceptable’ while laying off staff, Trudeau says – National

June 2, 2021

June 2, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it is “unacceptable” that Air Canada paid out some $10 million in bonuses to...

As more military troops head to B.C., experts call for civilian disaster response solution

November 18, 2021

November 18, 2021

As the Canadian Armed Forces sends additional troops to respond to floods in British Columbia, military and disaster management...

NDP to help Liberals get net-zero emissions legislation to Senate faster – National

June 10, 2021

June 10, 2021

NDP environment critic Laurel Collins says her party will help the Liberals get the government’s climate accountability bill to...