As the amount of second doses of COVID-19 vaccines is ramped up across the country and travel restrictions are expected to lift, Canada has yet to provide clear guidelines to fully vaccinated Canadians on what they can and cannot do safely.
More than 60% of the population has received at least one dose, and more than 8% have had two, but national rules for what activities are safe to conduct still do not exist as our vaccine rollout plan shifts toward getting more Canadians completely vaccinated.
If they get a negative COVID-19 test, fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents crossing the border into Canada will soon not have to self-isolate for 14 days, according to the federal government, but there is no particular guidance on what they can do safely after they arrive. Some experts believe Canada is wasting an opportunity to provide a pathway toward anything like a normal life by not having rules for the fully vaccinated, while others believe we must go cautiously to prevent jeopardizing our gains.
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister stated on Tuesday that fully vaccinated Manitobans would now be able to travel inside Canada without needing to self-isolate for two weeks after returning, as long as they have an immunization card.
Vaccine passports have not yet been distributed across the country, and federal officials have been unable to specify an exact date for when the quarantine regulations for fully vaccinated Canadians will be relaxed, other than indicated on Wednesday that they were aiming for early July.
Unlike Canada, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued instructions on March 8 for fully vaccinated Americans, stating that they could safely communicate indoors without wearing masks or physically separating themselves from individuals who had got both injections.
Those who received two doses can also travel inside the United States and internationally without being tested, as well as avoid quarantine entirely when they return, according to the CDC. However, three months later, Ottawa has yet to issue equivalent instructions for fully vaccinated Canadians, despite announcing the instructions “very shortly” over a month ago, and experts believe this could be causing confusion across the country.
Guidelines are needed now, according to Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases physician at Toronto General Hospital and a member of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination task force, because the number of fully vaccinated Canadians will rapidly increase throughout the summer.
On May 14, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, gave partially vaccinated Canadians some informal advice, stating they could mingle with family and friends outside over the summer, but she