On May 12 when my wife and I crossed into Canada from Florida, the border security guards didn’t want to hear that we were double vaccinated.
In fact, the detailed ArriveCAN app I filled out had no section asking if one had already been vaccinated.
I had received both doses of Moderna by April 5 in West Palm Beach, Florida; my wife the same by early May.
I had also written many stories about snowbirds being fully vaccinated in the United States, as well as travellers to Israel, who upon arriving in Toronto or other Canadian border cities were told they still had to quarantine for 14 days and take two COVID PCR tests.
This was in addition to the one they were asked to present at the border.
Those who flew into Toronto and refused to participate in the hotel quarantine – legitimately arguing that they were already fully vaccinated – were handed stiff fines of between $3,500 and $5,000 each.
It was absurd.
You would have thought the Trudeau government would be happy to know that with the initial limited supply of vaccine, some Canadians proactively took it upon themselves to get vaccinated elsewhere. After all, it took some of the load off scarce Canadian resources – which at that point had forced many to wait a risky four months in between doses.
But it was almost as if they wanted to punish those who dared leave the country – no matter the reason – even if they took the time and trouble to do what the government asked them to do, namely get vaccinated to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
I can only imagine the resources the Trudeau government wasted applying the PCR test twice, phoning us constantly and sending us emails to fill out daily while we were in a 14-day quarantine.
It was a laughable exercise.
Now less than three months later with an election upon us and the Liberals trying to force vaccines and vaccine passports on all of us – amid threats that the unvaccinated will not be permitted to fly or take the train within Canada – it would appear that those fully vaccinated outside of Canada have been ignored, or forgotten.
The out-of-country vaccinated number is in the tens of thousands judging just from the numbers who have reportedly inquired about how to register in the city of Toronto.
There has been no directive from the federal government to those of us who didn’t sign up for vaccines in this country.
When I asked officials at public health Canada this week, they said they are not able to track vaccinations obtained by Canadians outside the country.
Media officials told me that such vaccinations are captured by provincial immunization registries “only if vaccinated individuals voluntarily submit their proof of vaccination” to public health authorities in their province.
I don’t want to suggest that had there been a section in the ArriveCAN app asking about vaccination status, reporting would have been far more efficient and the numbers of vaccinated would have been far higher.
I was referred to the province to register, which was in fact wrong.
As I discovered after some research, it is the local public health unit that actually collects the data.
A recent release from Toronto public health says they’ve received more than 15,000 requests to document out-of-country vaccinations with COvaxON.
It’s now 15,001 after I registered mine this week.