People inoculated with the Sinopharm vaccine will not be allowed to enter Canada using the soon-to-be-implemented loosened COVID-19 protocols for those who are fully vaccinated. They will be allowed entry but will still be subject to quarantine.
Canadian authorities have indicated that those fully vaccinated with recognised doses will not be subject to quarantine or PCR testing on the eighth day after arrival.
According to the Canadian Public Health Agency, the approved vaccines are Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen.
However, the list of vaccines not approved under the fully-vaccinated policy are Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C), Cansino (Convidecia, Ad5-nCoV), Gamalaya (Sputnik V, Gam-COVID-Vac), Sinopharm (BBIBP-CorV), Sinopharm-Wuhan, Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc), Vector Institute (EpiVacCorona) and any other.
Since March 21, 2020, only certain categories of travellers have been allowed to enter the country. This includes some temporary foreign workers, some international students, some approved permanent residents, compassionate reasons such as for funerals, or someone with a valid medical reason for needing support, immediate or extended family members of Canadian citizens, persons registered under the Indian Act, or permanent residents of Canada among others.
The new policy takes effect from July 6.
Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs Dr Amery Browne told Guardian Media that such a decision was well within the right of any sovereign nation.
“All countries have the sovereign right and responsibility to determine how they manage visitors during the pandemic. Such protocols are subject to update and review over time and indeed, the Canadian authorities have indicated that their list of exempted vaccines may expand over time. In the interim, a limited quarantine period with testing would continue to apply for some prospective travellers,” he said.
However, internal medicine specialist and consultant Dr Joel Teelucksingh said this should not dissuade people from taking the vaccine.
“The main goal at this point is safety and with closed borders and with the eventual arrival of variants, vaccination is a priority. Reducing the risk of hospitalisations and death should be paramount rather than travel at this point,” he said.
He also added that while Canada may not have the jab on its list of approved vaccines, it is not an indictment on its effectiveness.
“The thing that we should remember is that this is a World Health Organisation-approved vaccine,” he said.
Meanwhile, T&T is one of the Caribbean nations left out of England’s updated travel green list. Fully vaccinated British nationals heading to countries on the list will not be required to quarantine upon returning home.
The Caribbean countries added to the list are Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands.