Prime Minister Trudeau Says AstraZeneca Recipients Will Not Be Disadvantaged When They Travel

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today his government is working with the U.S. and other international partners to ensure that AstraZeneca vaccine recipients face few barriers when they travel abroad.

Prime Minister Trudeau’s commitment comes at a time when some U.S. venues are already suggesting they will only allow people who’ve been fully vaccinated with a United States Food and Drug Administration-approved product — the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines — to attend certain events unencumbered.

While AstraZeneca shots are made at some U.S. facilities, the FDA has never approved it for use in the American marketplace.

Some private entities, like Broadway shows and TV production studios, have signalled they will keep AstraZeneca recipients out.

One B.C. mayor was surprised to learn he couldn’t attend a performance of Springsteen on Broadway in New York City because the venue operator, Jujamcyn Theaters, is limiting attendance to those who’ve had the mRNA shots or a shot of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Right now, the U.S. government isn’t requiring proof of vaccination to travel across its border.

U.S.-bound air travellers, including those who are fully vaccinated, are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test, or recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months, before they board a flight.

Health Canada maintains the AstraZeneca shot is safe and effective, but the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) said Thursday that the mRNA products from Pfizer and Moderna are “preferred” and people should opt for one of those shots for their second dose.

Prime Minister Trudeau — who received the AstraZeneca vaccine himself — said discussions with other countries on how they will treat those who’ve had a dose of that product are still ongoing.

“We will definitely make sure that people who got one or two AstraZeneca doses will not be disadvantaged when they want to travel,” he said in French.

“We hope to be able to resolve those issues in the coming weeks in time for bringing in loosened restrictions around travel. The U.S. hasn’t said yet what their criteria will be. We’re working with them to get on the same page.”

For now, most foreign travellers will be kept out of Canada — the government extended the Canada-U.S. border closure Friday until July 21 at the earliest — because not enough people here are fully vaccinated, Prime Minister Trudeau said.

Canada is maintaining its prohibition on most U.S. travellers, including those who are fully vaccinated, because these arrivals could act as COVID-19 vectors, spreading the virus to communities that are not yet sufficiently covered.


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