When the federal government announced in early July that fully vaccinated Canadians traveling abroad could skip quarantine upon their return home, some travel-hungry people began making vacation plans.
But traveling abroad during the pandemic is still complicated – and not yet recommended by the government.
Here’s what you need to know before planning your long-awaited trip.
Should I stop or go?
Since the start of the pandemic, the government has advised against non-essential foreign travel.
Canada’s Public Health Agency (PHAC) told businesshala News it has eased restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers as Canada’s COVID-19 situation improves. But the PHAC says the government is still advice against International travel, as some countries currently have high infection rates and COVID-19 variants remain a concern.
The PHAC has also warned that travelers may face problems if the international destination of passengers suddenly imposes a lockdown.
“Canadians may be forced to stay out of Canada for longer than expected,” spokeswoman Anne Gennier said in an email. “Canadians should not rely on the Canadian government for assistance related to changes to their travel plans.”
Epidemiologist Nazeem Muhajrein suggests Canadians consider the COVID-19 situation both at home and at their destination before planning travel.
“We have to be very careful,” said Muhajrin, a professor of community health and epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan. “There are many places in the world where COVID-19 is still very much at risk.”
Muhajerin was set to fly to Mozambique to work on a community health project. But he said he decided to cancel his trip because both mozambique and his home province There is currently a high COVID-19 infection rate.
“We are in the middle of a fourth wave, a delta variant wave in Saskatchewan,” Muhajrin said. “I don’t think I should travel even if I’ve been fully vaccinated.”
mixed vaccine crisis
Like Canada, many countries now allow fully vaccinated travelers to skip pandemic-related entry requirements, such as mandatory quarantine and/or a COVID-19 test.
But travelers need to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccine they receive is accepted in the country they plan to visit.
Some countries do not recognize people with mixed vaccine doses as fully immunized, which is a potential problem for them. millions of canadians Those who got shots from two different vaccines.
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Canada says it is working with other countries to resolve these differences.
“We are hoping that will change very soon,” Tourism Ireland spokeswoman Jocelyn Black told businesshala News in an email.
The United States does not currently recognize mixed doses. That situation sparked concern when the US announced last month that in early November, foreign air travelers entering the country must be fully vaccinated.
“I feel blind,” said Toronto’s Ingrid White. She and her husband, John, each have one dose of COVISHIELD (a brand of AstraZeneca) and another dose of Pfizer.
The Snowbirds have been booked to fly to Florida on November 17th, but are now worried they won’t be able to enter the US because of their mixed vaccines.
“We don’t really know what to do with the situation,” White said.
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) told businesshala News this week that it is still detailing upcoming vaccination requirements for air travelers, including a list of approved vaccines.
“CDC is actively working with vaccine experts regarding which vaccinations will be accepted,” spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said in an email.
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He said the CDC would provide more information in the coming weeks.
Instead of waiting for it, White now wants to solve her problem by taking a third dose of the vaccine, so she’ll have two doses of the same vaccine.
“We are running out of time,” she said.
However, Ontario does not make a third dose available to travelers. The province said it was following federal guidelines that currently only recommend a third dose to some people with compromised immune systems.
nova scotia says It will start giving a third dose from October 15 to those who need it to travel for work.
What about travel insurance?
Travelers can now get COVID-19 medical coverage, but it will not cover all pandemic-related problems.
Travel insurance broker Martin Firestone said it is possible to get cancellation coverage if you get COVID-19 and have to cancel your trip. But he added that if you cancel your plans for other pandemic-related reasons, you probably won’t be covered, as COVID-19 is now a “known” problem.
“If your reason is going to be a shutdown, a fifth wave or a sixth wave or a seventh wave, you’re out of luck,” said Firestone, who works for Travel Secure in Toronto.
They have also warned that some COVID-19 medical coverage plans do not cover the cost if you have to stay at your destination for a longer period of time because of a positive COVID-19 test.
Firestone said the type of coverage, known as travel interruption insurance, typically includes a daily limit, so, even if you buy it, you may not be covered for all of your expenses. Huh.
“You can stay in a hotel for $1,000 a day, that doesn’t mean they’re going to cover your costs at the hotel for 14 days,” he said. “All you can do is to offset some of your costs from any of these products.”
canada still advice against All cruise ship travel. As a result, many insurance providers will not offer COVID-19 medical coverage for cruise ship passengers.
Will McAleer, executive director of the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada, says that at least some providers offer this type of coverage for vaccinated passengers — and no cruise ship passenger should leave home without it.
“If I get sick, I can talk about a helicopter air evacuation from the front of the ship at sea to a port, an air ambulance, a center that can take care of me,” he said. “So it can get quite complicated and expensive.”
MacAleer said all travelers need to do careful research before buying their insurance plan to ensure the right protection during the pandemic.
“Shopping [around] The key is for consumers at this point in time.”