Canadians who travel to the United States solely for the purpose of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will be subject to mandatory quarantine upon their return.
The Public Health Agency of Canada said in a statement late Wednesday that the current quarantine exemptions are not intended for those travelling abroad to get vaccinated against the coronavirus disease.
In an email, a PHAC spokesperson said, “Testing and quarantine exemptions for travelers returning to Canada after accessing critical medical services in a foreign country were not intended to be used for those trying to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.”
The statement tries to explain claims that the vaccine could be considered an emergency medical treatment, and that Canadians crossing the border could be excluded from the 14-day quarantine when they return.
Albertans who went to a Montana vaccine clinic earlier this week were told they wouldn’t have to quarantine for 14 days.
Since March 2020, the Canada-US border has been closed to non-essential travel for purposes such as tourism and leisure due to the pandemic. In addition to the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for returning non-essential travelers, non-essential travelers entering Canada via the land border must include evidence of a negative COVID-19 examination before arrival.
Patients awaiting critical medical services, however, have been able to avoid such conditions since February if they have a written statement from a licensed health care professional in Canada as well as a practitioner in the country where they are seeking treatment.
Some states in the United States have been providing free vaccinations to Canadian truck drivers who cross the border. Under federal public health regulations, those necessary cross-border employees are exempt from testing and quarantine.