Snowbirds complicate vaccine rollout

Despite a raging second wave of COVID-19 and travel restrictions to contain its spread, many older Canadians have made their annual winter migration south. While it is hard to begrudge anyone the chance to escape a Canadian winter, the estimated 375,000 snowbirds who travel annually to the U.S. and Mexico will likely complicate Canada’s response to the coronavirus, including the rollout of vaccines.

While two vaccines – one from Pfizer and the other from Moderna – have been approved in Canada and enough doses have been ordered to ensure every Canadian can be vaccinated, delivery will take time. Priority will largely go to those most at risk, including older Canadians in long-term care homes and frontline health workers. But the U.S., which provided massive funding for development through its “Operation Warp Speed,” has been among the first in line to receive vaccines.

As a result, Canadian snowbirds in the U.S. are now receiving these vaccines sooner than they would have had they stayed in Canada and before Canadians with similar or greater risks to COVID-19 infection. Putting aside the question of fairness to Americans who are also queueing up for these vaccines and the massive strains on their health system, there are good reasons to be concerned at the prospect of Canadian snowbirds seeking to become vaccinated as quickly as they can.

The first issue is that both of the vaccines approved thus far in Canada and the U.S. require two doses about four weeks apart. This raises the prospect of Canadian snowbirds receiving a first dose in the U.S. and then needing a second upon returning home. If they are unable to receive this second dose on time, they may have to re-start the vaccination process, potentially wasting one of the precious doses at a time when they are most needed. On the other hand, giving snowbirds priority for a second vaccine dose upon returning home raises the question of fairness for Canadians who did not travel abroad.

Second, Canadian snowbirds receiving vaccines abroad will further complicate the already difficult issue of creating a dynamic vaccine registry to track who gets what vaccine and when. This registry is needed to ensure that Canadians get their second dose on time, track vaccine uptake and herd immunity and identify any issues with side effects or loss of efficacy over time. All of this is already hard enough but if large numbers of Canadians are getting one or both vaccine doses abroad, completing a registry becomes considerably more difficult.

Finally, vaccines aren’t free or free from complications. While COVID-19 vaccine side effects have been rare, there have been issues with severe allergic reactions to the Pfizer vaccine in particular, in some cases requiring hospitalization. Moreover, while these vaccines have been promised to be free for Americans, it is possible that non-Americans will be charged and that even Americans will face administrative costs for receiving the vaccine. If Canadian snowbirds lack adequate travel insurance or savings to meet these needs, they will need to seek help from their provincial governments and Canadian taxpayers, especially in the case of emergency hospitalization and medevac back home.

In general, these issues aren’t new. Travel abroad by Canadians, especially seasonal stays by older Canadians, has always raised issues like ensuring that medical records are complete and fairness in paying for care. Many of these practical and ethical issues arising from the coming vaccine rush are entirely foreseeable. What is needed is for Canadian health authorities, provincial governments and our federal leaders to plan for these complications now. This will require reaching out to snowbird communities and associations to provide guidance on if and how they should seek vaccination and what will be required of them upon returning home.

New vaccine approvals are giving us hope this winter but now is the time to prepare for a still-challenging spring that includes the return of Canadian snowbirds from the U.S.

The comments section is closed.

  • Alan says:

    We got our first vaccine shot in the USA, before coming back to our canadian home end of May. Knowing that we would have to wait, again, after our quarantine to book our first shot!
    Now, we will get our second shot at the end of June….
    Not recognizing out first shot, are we going to received a third shot to get our fully vaccinated document? What a waste….

  • D. Ruys says:

    Understanding that I AM a Canadian who goes south for the winter,I do not feel I have overstepped in getting my vaccination there. I own a house, ( have for 10 years) pay full all year round taxes , plus the higher rate for not being an American , my taxes are triple my neighbours ,who has twice amount of land . I accept this. Now if Canada were to include all of us “snowbirds “ in your calculations for numbers as to who has been inoculated perhaps we could get people off the govt free money ride ,back to work and producing. While our country circles the drain just waiting for the expected tax hikes ,someone has to cover this random spending – to foreign countries – not our hospitals ,or factory and product production. Sad sad situation ,use to be so proud to be a Canadian not the joke we are now.

  • Alan says:

    I came back 2 weeks ago. Had a test done at Walgreens, the results were available to me within 48 hours. I knew I wanted to cross on a Saturday so I got my test done Wednesday afternoon, just before the Courrier pickup at the pharmacy.

  • Harry says:

    Virtually all of the snowbirds have been vaccinated abroad yet Canada provides no way to allow them to register that they are vaccinated. The Arrivecan app filled out to return to Canada has no place to provide the information that the returnee is fully vaccinated. Doubtless the Canadian government views these returnees as part of the unvaccinated population skewing the numbers of vaccinations downwards.
    As well, I would assume that all of the essential workers allowed to travel to the US and return without quarantine have been vaccinated as well in the US yet there numbers are not tabulated either.
    Time to get these numbers into the vaccination equation.

  • Beth says:

    Are Canadian snowbirds who have had both vaccines included in the statistics for vaccinated Canadians? This will change to a more positive statistic.

  • Dominique says:

    My cousins are Canadian citizens residing outside of Canada or the US. If they come to the US, can they take their vaccines in the US?

  • Vijay Kumar says:

    I got my Moderna vaccine here in Ontario, Canada on April 20.
    I want to go to USA to my daughter and get my second shot there.
    My question is when I come back to Canada, do I have to quarantine for 14 days or not.

  • Bonnie Mitchell says:

    I had both my shots in the US how do I get this put on my my Health records ?

    • Ali says:

      Wondering too for my fiancé who has received both shots in the US. The gov should care about these numbers since right now to Canada they’re people who aren’t vaccinated yet.

  • PAMELA GREER says:

    Can you receive your first COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine in BC Canada and receive your second vaccine in Arizona, U.S.?

    • Dhan says:

      I have the same question. Can I get my second Pfizer shot in the US? Is the Pifzer vaccine same in both countries? Can take the second shot in US or it has to be in Canada since I took the first one in Canada?
      Vaccines are freely available in the US now. My question is regarding compatibility not related to cost or eligibility.

  • David Hall says:

    I want to get my family out of this country, still called Canada for some reason, and into Florida if possible BEFORE they mandate vaccine passports.

    If I manage this and our 6 months are up, will our dictator PM allow us back into the country?

    Gotta wonder.

  • Joan Soenen says:

    I will be staying with my son & family for three months in June until August in Idaho.I have had my first Pfizer shot on March 26.My second shot is in July but I won’t be in Canada,I will be in the US.Could I get my second Pfizer shot in June in the US ?
    Thank You

    • Mike says:

      that’s the answer I’m looking for

    • Fred says:

      Joan, I’m heading to South Carolina in June as well to stay with my sister and will get my second jab there at Walgreens….will not come back until this craziness slows down

    • Susie says:

      Yes! And you can get it in four weeks, the manufacturers intended time frame! You are lucky to be headed to US/

  • Rob says:

    Everyone vaccinated in the US (where they follow the manufacturers instruction), is one less person that has to be vaccinated here in Canada. Given the supply shortage, the perversion on the dose intervals and now the very concerning potential mixing of vaccines, we should be content that the numbers of fully vaccinated Canadians are growing with the help of US vaccine clinics. And most snowbirds would stay long enough to get both doses. (they’d rather be in lockdown in warm Arizona/Florida vs at home in Canada, and tarvelling down enatisl risk until your fully vaccinated and protected to max- so why go down for a short stay?). Vaccine tracking ? there should be an easy way to report through peoples GPs. But I am also old enough to remember that here in Ontario we spent 2Billion on an E-Health info system that never worked….I think more productive discussion would looking at a) seeing if more Canadians near the border can get access to US vaccination clinics and b) what processes drove our government to partner up with a Chinese firm( under the control of the communist leadership ), then wait while other western countries signed vaccine contracts, before entering into contracts in August. BTW imagine those “self-centred evil” Americans generously vaccinating foreigners OMG!!!(sarcasm)

  • Terry says:

    Anyone drive back to Canada recently? Wondering how long it took to receive the covid test results, given the 72 hour window? Thanks!

    • Alan Pearson says:

      I stopped in Maine. Everywhere they tell you 48 to 72 hour for results. It actually took 6 hours and they sent a confirmation email.

  • Lynn says:

    This article is nothing but junk. Canada should be thankful that the USA willingly vaccinated Canadians while living here. That Canada wants to punish it’s citizens for traveling to second homes while still paying canadian taxes is outrageous. On our return to Canada we will be treated far worse than any international flight thats flown into Canada since the start of pandemic. Fully vaccinated, following all guidelines for what? To have Canada treat us like shameful traitors.

  • Mark Norwood says:

    Understand your reasoning here. Canada is not following the WHO or any other guidelines with regards to recommended time between shots, so snowbirds coming back with two shots may be the only ones not spreading the virus in Canada. We are far better to let them get vaccinated properly in the US than having no-one here properly vaccinated. Canada is Liberal votes above life saving, so let at least some of us be fully and properly vaccinated.

  • Ron says:

    If you receive the vaccine in a other country do you need to quarantine when you return to canada

    • Frank says:

      I strongly believe that if any Canadian has travelled outside Canada upon return definitely should be tested and self isolate fir the full 14 days inside their dwelling and outside in their own dwelling fir that period
      If groceries and medications are needed. Must be done online and delivered to their dwelling
      Must stay home and stay safe

  • Kelly Miller Miller says:

    I struggle with a few of the principles in this article. I am a Canadian that winters in Florida – perhaps not your average “snowbird”. I originally was against being vaccinated in Florida – felt I may be “taking away” from deserving Americans. Today is April 9th – they are now vaccinating anything that moves over the age of 18 in Florida – when I started to see the “mess” vaccinations in Ontario, as soon as Florida dropped the age to 50 – I signed up – all I needed to do was present my long term lease for Florida residence. Got my first shot of Moderna – pharmacy called me today and scheduled my 2nd shot – exactly 21 days after the first – just what is recommended from the manufacturer. You bet I will be there with bells on next week to get it. I have adequate travel insurance – case things go south – but I can tell you this – I feel it is my responsibility to take the opportunity that has presented itself and protect myself and hopefully save the shots for someone that needs them in Canada. Wherever this article seems to think we have screwed things up????? Just can’t wrap my head around that one. I don’t appreciate being painted a “problem” – it is becoming pretty apparent, pretty fast – where the problem lies – the Canadian government, both provincial and federal dropped the ball big time on this and is sacrificing Canadian lives. I am not the scapegoat.

    • MG says:

      Very well said, Kelly! Totally agree.

      My husband and I are looking to book a vaccine across the boarder in Pennsylvania, where there is no residency requirement. We called Walgreens in Scranton , and the pharmacist said, he would be glad to vaccinate us, as long as long as we made an appointment. We could eve use the pharmacy’s zip code.
      I our only worry is, will the people at the boarder let us drive into the USA? We are not sure if they would consider us getting our shot as “essential”…So sad to think about how we/ Canadians have to worry about this type of thing.
      Big shame on the Liberal government for the disaster they, aka,Trudeau, have created for Canadians. ( I also agree with what Rob’s comments were…)
      Anyways, my husband and I will try and cross, come back quarantine for 14 days (even with 3 negative tests, which is also a contradiction to what the guideline say.. First test, is coming back over the boarder to prove we dont have covid, second is 5 days later and third 8 days later…) Then we will go BACK to the US and get our second shot 21-22 days later…Come back and quarantine again…sigh…
      Very fortunate we can do something like this….It’s also very maddening, that not everyone can do this, or that something like this even has to be done…YET, majority still give Trudeau two thumbs up…??

  • Giancarlo Vitali says:

    It is shameful to wait 4 months for the second dose when Pfizer and moderna recommend 21-28 days.
    Will the canadian government take responsibility? In the USA AND SWITZERLAND they follow the rules.

  • Cynthia vitali says:

    Seniors in Canada, now must wait 4 months for the second dose of (Pfizer or moderna)
    It is against the rule of Pfizer and moderna….will the Canadian government take responsibility if
    Something happens to their seniors.

  • Steven Diamond says:

    I live with my brother in Ottawa. He is 81 years old, I am 66 years old. We both have long-term chronic kidney damage and diabetes; two people with severe underlying conditions that do not bode well for catching covid-19. My 81 year-old brother just got his first Pfizer vaccine near Ottawa today. I was told by a government article earlier this month that I cannot get mine until June because I am only 66 years old. But, I don’t think that includes people that are 66-years-old with chronically severe underlying conditions such as diabetes and kidney damage. I should be able to get my first one right away from the same place my brother got his. I will talk to my doctor about this because gauging it by age only is obviously not the right approach when it comes to medically compromised patients. In the meantime, the Canadian government in its Infinite Wisdom has pushed back the second dose of Pfizer vaccine to 16 weeks, making my brother’s second appointment for a shot in mid-June. Every expert on the planet, besides Canada and the UK, agree that the time limit for the second dose should be 21 weeks later, or at the very outside 28 weeks, in order for the vaccine to be completely effective, or even effective at all. Canada is stretching out the delay to allow everyone to get a first dose right away. This comes from the government screwing up the distribution of vaccine in the first place, resulting in there not being enough of it here for two doses within three-to four weeks. So, they stretched it out to 16 weeks for the second dose to make up for the shortfall. The thinking – until very recently – was that it was better for more people to get the first shot to immunize more people more quickly. They seem to have thought – seemingly in an ad-hoc way – that it would be safe to delay the second dose from 3 weeks, to 4 months! But, the latest news reports from both the medical and scientific communities in Canada and the US, state that there is more evidence that if the vaccine is delayed more than 21 to 28 days, the efficacy of the first shot is completely wasted, and you have to start all over again. Not only that, but without getting the second dose on time – within three to four weeks of the first one – the efficacy of the first shot is only 50% and fades away quickly. All the newspaper and television news reports here in Canada now relay updated reports from the medical and scientific communities, pleading with the government that delaying the second dose of the vaccine is not just wrong-headed. It could be deadly.

    So, with another covid-19 surge possibly rearing up, and the federal government saying it will have another update in a couple of weeks or so, I am not willing to hold my breath and wait for politicians to figure it all out. Both for my life, nor for my brother’s. Therefore, my question is a life-or-death one: can my brother, 81, who just got his first shot today, April 6th, get his second one on time in 21 days in the US, maybe just across the Ontario-New York border, or anywhere else in the US, or elsewhere in Canada for that matter? Is that a possibility? I believe that Ontario health coverage has a policy with its OHIP plan that, if in the event of not being able to receive a covered medical service or procedure in this province, an Ontario resident can go outside the province for said medical service or procedure. And, if an Ontario resident has to pay for that medical service if it is in, say, the US, then OHIP will reimburse that Ontario resident. Am I still correct about this? Finally, to save my brother from getting covid-19, and most certainly dying from it because the government says he can’t have the second dose until 4 months from now, I will do everything in my power to prevent that from being his fate and have him get his second vaccine within the medically recommended time frame of 21 days. I, as yet, have not received my first vaccination. But, I would like to do so as soon as possible, and then I myself would go to the States or anywhere else to get my second shot in the recommended time frame in order to save my life should I get covid-19. Does anyone reading this have any suggestion(s) or knowledge that would help? Or, any ideas who to direct me to, or who I could talk to, to get this information? And, it will not just help my brother and me. It will help everybody else in our situation, and there’s a whole lot of people out there who have been told they have to wait 16 weeks to get their second shot. This is unconscionable. So, I am planning to go to the media with my personal query, because this is a life-and-death situation. As the first wave of vaccines is put into people’s arms, we all have to move on this immediately because 21 days is not a lot of time for the government to move. As far as speaking to my family doctor, as I’m sure someone will suggest? I will speak with her tomorrow – but my hopes aren’t high in that direction, I know her. She’s likely to say, “Wait for the government to update the situation”. Plus the fact that my doctor’s office still says, in a recording, that it will not be offering the vaccine. Maybe that has changed – everything is changing quickly these days – but I want to hedge my bets, frankly, when it comes to my brother’s life, and to my own life, as well. I know we all do. This is my particular plea. Let’s do this together.

    Thank you,
    Steven Diamond

    • Andrea says:

      You can’t cross the border into the States by land, you have pay for a travel Covid test which is about $199 and fly to a city in state that your closest international airport goes to. Then when you return, you have to get another Covid test within 72 hrs, to board the plane which I learned is about $150 usd then upon return to Canada, self-isolate in a GOVT approved hotel at your expense for minimum of 3 days. Pretty costly and time consuming process. The only saving grace is some states like PA are vaccinating anyone who wants it without cost. Good luck. I feel for you.

  • Lola dickens says:

    Would it be possible to ask for the one shot j and j vacinne while in Palm Springs where I have a residence
    Would that complicate it here in Canada to track my vaccine

  • Cynthia McDonagh says:

    I too have been vaccinated in USA Pfizer (Feb 17 & Mar 10). No matter what this person says in the article, no medical professional would turn anyone away from an “vaccination centre” here in Arizona. I asked them both visits. That’s a true health care professional.

    Now well past the 2 week mark and now 100% covered by vaccination. I too returning home (April 17) by car after 4 days drive from Arizona. A few issues… the 72 hr testing before crossing, the 2-3 day wait for results, the cost almost everywhere its $139 US at CVS.

    Bigger question…why do we have to be tested if we are fully vaccinated. Some medical reports are up an down and most confirm that once vaccinated you won’t transmit if you have the virus in your nose as it travels thru your body the “vaccine” kills the virus. Anything coming out of my nose is “not contagious”.

    Now many will say why did you go… well I’m Dual Citizen and one of the few who was able to drive across the border with own car. If I’m going to be taxed and allowed to vote in both countries then I’m going to enjoy my own home during the winter months…under the warmth of southwest sun. I always planned and did self-isolate until vaccine was available then go south where I can sit outside, walk, limited my activities to groceries and pharmacies and possibly get vaccinated….which happened earlier than expected and faster than if I stayed home in Canada. And no I did not golf, did not go to the pool, held nor went to any bbq’s with neighbors.

    I’ll do what I have to do but here’s the final straw. Canadians returning home have to get 3 covid tests in 14 days…one before leaving the country (72 hrs), one upon entry by air or land and one 10 days after arriving aback at house. Meanwhile Ontario is back into “full blown lockdown”. When I get home and pass my 14 day quarantine, let me must say……I will not limit where I go and who I visit. YES I’ll be MASKING UP as I’ve continued since being vaccinated but I will go see family and friends who are also “vaccinated”. The rules/policy need to be changed for those who are VACCINATED…and that’s probably only those who left the country for the winter. My husband’s in England and he’s now vaccinated and has been in lock down for 4 months. YES 4 months…but restricted only to his borough.

    Largest province in the country. The province that has half of the canadian population…14 mil and were going back into a lockdown. ,

    • Terry says:

      Thanks for sharing your story. Similar situation here. Can you please update and let us know how the testing and border crossing go? Safe travels!

  • Sheila says:

    Well Said.. have just posted myself about needing Neg test on returning home…

  • Sheila says:

    We are Canadians returning May 2nd by car. We have had both of our vaccines, but have to get a PCR covid-19 Negative test within 72 hours of arriving at the border…. Having difficulty, as they are supposed to be free, but
    not sure if free for Canadians… wanted $116 each at one location, and may have to pay if not available to non US citizens, hate to fork out this much, but if I have to I will, just to get back home….
    We would not have gone south, except that we live in a trailer all summer and do not own a home, and for us
    to have had to rent something for the winter would have been to expensive.

    • Cynthia says:

      Hi. I’m going thru similar situation. The cost and actually booking an appointment 72 hrs before crossing and hoping results will be ready within the 72 hrs… OH and the cost $139.00 for test…. Me too full vaccinated. Been self-isolating since November 2020 here in Arizona…. The safest place for me…and less stress was coming to my home in AZ. At least I didnt have worry about falling on snowy/icing sidewalks.

    • Georgina Smith says:

      Some places in Florida charge anywhere from $150 to $350 if you want guaranteed results less than the 72 hours. A few Labs do it for free if you own in Florida and use your FL address.

      I do not agree with the article itself. Most snowbirds who got the first shot also got the 2nd shot in FL so they won’t be trying to get it in Canada when returning.

  • Jay Solowan says:

    The authors of this appear to have a unfounded bias against snowbirds who winter in the US. As to their first comment about the “Fairness”of Canadians being vaccinated while in the US, vaccines are supplied by each State – just as at home it is done by each province. The majority of us down here pay State taxes on our property in Arizona, and as such, the State has said we are eligible to be vaccinated the same as snowbirds living here who come from any other place in the world. So fairness in not an issue.
    The “First” issue is another false concern as every snowbird I know down here has had both doses of the vaccine and have had it done witin two to three weeks of getting their first shot. Whereas, in Canada, the government is now delaying second doses up to three months or more. By staying home, we would just add to the delays for other people because you would now have to include all of us in the number of people who would need to be vaccinated.
    The second issue is a also a none starter. In the US, everyone is issued signed cards listing what vaccine we got,the batch number and when and where we were given it. And the Canadian government is currently not issuing anything to people when they get their vaccinations. If they do get around to keeping a registry, we can simply provide this information to our Doctors, who can enter it into said registry.
    The final point is simply scaremongering. None of what they are speculating on here has come to pass. No insurance issues due to complications from getting the vaccine and we are not costing the taxpayers any more money than we would if we stayed in Canada. I would suggest just the opposite is the true outcome of our coming down here. There are a whole lot of potential slips on ice and snow that do not happen every year because we all head south.
    If you want to blame someone for your lot in life under covid, look no further than our federal government; who have made a complete mess of vaccine procurement and distribution.

    • Cynthia says:

      Very well said Jerry. When people like this writer get to the retirement age like us after 40 or 50 years of working he may see the light. I was surprise here in AZ that no one was being turned away. I was on the health care database as I accessed hospital care back in 2017. I always purchased out of country health care beyond my 95 days with my pension plan and both offered Covid Coverage for up to $10,000,000.00 dollars…that’s right. No one said we couldn’t leave…as Travel Advisory 3 is just that an advisory. Yes some of us own our homes, pay taxes, contributed to both countries and then some of us are “dual citizens” who also pay taxes to IRS based on CDN income. If I didnt I would be charged up $10,000 min and possible jail time. I was less likely to get “covid” being in AZ. I live in totally “senior community” and 100% of them have been in lockdown since last April when I left. I see more home deliveries for food, etc than ever. Many out of walking. All facilities but golf courses closed. Who wouldnt come south when your bones aches and you know all the this warm and sunshine will be good for your body and mind.

    • Dave B says:

      Awesome commentary, I agree completely!

  • Mary Lou Smith says:

    My son is marrying a Canadian woman in August. Can she get vaccinated on a visit to the US in June? If so, how?

  • Joe Juneau says:

    What a load of garbage this article is. Unbelievable!!!

  • Deborha Packard says:

    Your article is full of errors and misstatements! We are Winter Texan’s, we live here 5 1/2 months of each year! We own a home here and come for health reasons and to enjoy a snow free winter in our retirement! We worked long and hard to save for this retirement dream. we arrived here in November, none of us even thinking about Governor Abbot allowing us to be vaccinated! This came about in January when he and Judge Trevino Jr. announced the winter Texan’s are Texan’s! So now we are FULLY vaccinated! This will help the poor Canadians back home who have been desperately waiting to receive a vaccine, because 375,000 of us will not need Canada to vaccinate us! Also not one person paid anything for the vaccine, it was FREE! So where you got the information about us needing to pay, or enough coverage on travel insurance, is fear mongering! We have been treated better, with more kindness down here in Texas then by our own country! People like yourself is the problem! Spreading propaganda and here say, that you obviously did not research! Trudeau is just covering his huge Covid-19 vaccine mistakes,of not getting enough vaccines soon enough by throwing the attention on us old people who just want to live a life in the sun before we die! We are going to be forced into hotel jails on our return, for unrealistic prices, for 1 star hotels and terrible food that may not be approved by our doctors! There are no specific meals for Sodium reduced, diabetic, heart health , etc provided! This is against all our Human Rights and Freedoms! All this took affect February 22,2021. We had no idea when we left in November that we would have to do anything but quarantine for 14 days in our home, like last year! Now the government randomly picks $2000 per person shoddy Hotel’s and forces us to be locked up even though we are returning FULLY vaccinated and Covid-19 tested before boarding our flight home! So even with the vaccine and negative Covid PCR test, Trudeau decides we are somehow a threat! Then why would anyone in Canada even get vaccinated if our own Prime Minister doesn’t think the vaccine works! Once again shooting himself in the foot! You are part of the problem ,not part of the solution, to print articles like this that stir up the citizens that you say you are protecting, from what I ask? Fully vaccinated, hand washing, mask wearing, 65+ seniors who have tested negative for Covid-19, well that doesn’t make you a hero, but a fool! I was once a proud Canadian, but this whole Covid thing has really opened my eyes! I will never forgive Trudeau for not allowing a Funeral (with masks on ),but allowing dozens of people to be in Walmart( some without masks). No funerals were cancelled in Texas, everyone just wore masks and sat at a social distance! Fear mongering and power is all Trudeau ,and apparently you ,care about, instead of getting real facts and speaking to us Snowbirds and Winter Texan’s to get your story straight! You should be ashamed spreading these untruths amongst very vulnerable Canadian people who are waiting for their vaccine and hoping they do not get Covid-19 before they get it! Thank you Texas for caring enough for a group of old seniors from Canada, allowing us to be vaccinated at NO COST! Not one person in our 55+ Park had any adverse symptoms or affects from the vaccines ,except a sore arm for a day or so at the injection site! I have multiple health issues, allergies, and am 69years old, but I had no fear of the vaccine because of all the positive articles and news stories I saw here in Texas! Not articles like yours trying to scare people, and attack citizens from your own country who are just trying to live our dream for the few short years we have left! Shame on you! You need to spend your time reading up on how effective and life saving vaccines have been historically! Starting with the SALK Vaccine in the 1950’s for Polio! Deborha Packard

    • Jane Bern says:

      Great letter. Exactly on point. Thank you.

    • Mike C. says:

      Very well said. I moved out of Canada to SW Arkansas with my American wife in August of 2019 (30 miles from the Texas border). BEST move I ever made. As you said I’ve been treated much better here than I was in Canada. Thank GOD I have been here through the entire pandemic crap. I didn’t want the vaccine but it was so easy to get I said what the heck and got it. I’ve never worn a mask and nobody here or in Texas gives a damn. The absolute crap the Canadians sling about the US health care system is unreal. I’m not sure if it’s ignorance or stupidity or a good mix of both. Have a safe trip back to Canuckistan.

    • Cynthia says:

      Here Here!…this writer clearly has no idea what its like to be a senior, locked in a home all thru the cold while the young ones go out and have fund…Screw that. I’m dual citizen. I vote in both countries. I pay taxes to both governments based on only my Canadian earnings and I own my home in 55+ community. No facilities open except golf. Lots walking with no snow or ice. Plenty of home delivery services for anything you want. I love my Canada and proud I was born and raised their but think its time I spend the later part of life in my mom’s home country.

      Now about out of country insurance. Not one Canadian insurance company would deny out of country health care. In fact they put the covered from $200,000 in November to $10 Mil in early December. Canadian airlines offered free out of country health insurance (thanks Manual Life).

      My friends and family have suffered a very long cold winter, been isolated and now have to wait for not only 1st shot but 4 months for the 2nd shot. OH and no record of who’s getting vaccination. Here they told me to take a picture of CDC Vaccination card……its on my iPhone..

      Now on return we have to not only stay in hotel….but we have to do 3 covid tests in 14 days….morethan any other Canadian resident. ???? and were are vaccinated…

      oh well..take journey home. I have 4 day drive…

  • Linda McGinnis says:

    The organization our Government say is required bears no credence I would anticipate the majority of individuals would want vaccines. I would like to think the intelligence level of the population would know if they have had one or two shots and when they got them !! Let our physicians take care of it and pay them for their efforts in lieu of lining the pockets of the likes of Deloitte for this meaningless information. Even the 7 hour window for the storage restrictions on the Pfizer vaccine could be addressed by daily deliveries to the medical practices. We should be embarassed as a national on how Canadian officials have handled this whole situation. We are supposed to be in the top 10 nations in which to live – think again !! Linda McGinnis

  • Nicola says:

    I can’t believe you. I am an older ex- pat living abroad. I pay taxes in Canada but never receive any benefit from Canadian health services. None. They are not available to me at all. How am I a burden?

  • Lorne Goldman says:

    I am a Canadian expat (5 years) of 72 with multiple prior conditions. I surrendered my health card (as the Canadian governments require) and still pay substantial taxes. I cannot be vaccinated where I am (Ecuador) for the foreseeable future. Can I be vaccinated if I return to Canada? Quebec says no, insisting that I quarantine (no problem), find a residence for 3 months and only then apply for to renew my Medicare card…with a substantial. Ontario says I can be vaccinated upon showing my Canadian passport but no one knows about it and their public service gets angry when I mentioned it. There are close to 3 million Canadian expats and we do not all live in Fort Lauderdale.

  • cheryl McLaughlin says:

    if a Canadian has received 2 doses of Covid vaccine in the USA do they still need to quarantine in a hotel after flying??

    • Charles says:

      Yes, for punishment only as it makes no sense to quarantine or hotel confinement. CDC says it is not necessary to quarantine, But Trudeau wants to look tough in dealing with those who travel and is sticking it to them big time.

    • Jane Bern says:

      Yes. Idea of hotel quarantine for 3 days is, in reality, a penalty, disciplinary reflex, for those of us who travel south in the winter. Negative test before boarding plane, negative test on arrival. Even if your arrival test is less than the 3 day quarantine, you must pay for the full three days. No refunds. Then total of 14 day quarantine. Being vaccinated with two Pfizer doses, does not get you anywhere with the Trudeau government. We who travel for the winter are primarily over 65, have paid Canadian taxes since (birth) and after death. But, we must all suffer together while the Government botched getting the vaccines in a more timely way and then make people telephone… telephone!! for an appointment. How about mailing a letter asking for one?

      The hotel quarantine is punitive, C’est tout.

    • Cynthia says:

      JUST plained stupidity….we are going back to our homes….which have been empty for up to 6 months….no one lives their….yet those damn hotels must get filled and those carpets and rooms are dirty…..

      I dont think anyone who has been vaccinated and returning by air or by car needs to nor should be put in a hotel.

      I’m driving home from a AZ and my husband is flying home from England. He’s been in lockdown in Londong since early December….


      • Andrea says:

        If you are returning to Canada by car, you need a proof of a Covid test within 72 hours of crossing the border. You are not required to go a hotel if your test is negative, but you must drive straight home and self quarantine for 14 days. Only people flying into Canada have to do the hotel thing.

  • Eileen McIntyre says:

    I am 93 years old in Manitoba when can I expect to get the covid vaccine

  • Gladys Divell says:

    Here is my comment to all of you. You all should be happy that we are receiving the vaccine and stopping the spread, here in the USA and when we return to Canada. All vaccines that are given here are submitted to the CDC. so are you telling me that Canada does not get updated from the CDC on who receives the vaccines? If so then FIX it,

    We all receive a vaccine card saying we have received both vaccines, we can give a copy to our Doctor when we retlurn.
    When we left Canada last |November there was no restrictions on us flying to the USA where we own a property. Thank goodness the USA uses commen sense when administering their vaccine. All they are interested in is stopping the spread, they don’t even question gilving it to people out of couttry or out of their state, as many thousands of US persons from northern states migrate to their southern places dluring the winter.

    If our incompentant government had got their act together and worked with President Trump, who by the way, everyone should be thanking for their vaccine, maybe we would have received vaccines earlier than we have, instead of being on the back burner.

    So all you hypocrites that hated Trump, get to the back of the line. Quit picking on the seniors, the ones who are most vulnerable to this disease and start using your time to get on the governments back to get more vaccines quicker.

    • Jane Bern says:

      Thanks. Great letter.

    • Eliot Muir says:

      Right on. This article is a bunch of virtue signalling garbage.

      Let individuals do what is in the best interests and benefit society as a whole by getting vaccinated earlier.

    • Cynthia says:

      Oh I agree with everything you said but – Oh please no credit to Trump. Its all coming out…the rise of this virus could’ve been slowed down back in March 2020….
      We wouldn’t be getting the vaccine if Trump had been re-elected. Sorry…my thoughts. over 100 mil vaccinated in US in under 60 days….

  • LN says:

    I don’t see a problem with Canadians in the US receiving Covid-19 vaccines, and neither do the Americans. I feel like you are trying very hard to create one, however. You seem to be laying a whole lot of blame on Snowbirds for something that does not even exist, and I do not follow your reasoning. Ask the federal government why we are still waiting for vaccines. Canadian Snowbirds receiving the Covid-19 vaccine in the US will not pose a concern for either country. They don’t need to be scolded.

    • Fred Beard says:

      Absolutely agree ! In fact, Canadians should be THANKING snowbirds who get vaccinated in the US, thus freeing up the meager supply (non existent) supply, in Canada.

      Jealously is rearing its ugly head.

  • Verginia Aiello says:

    I write to you as a snowbird. And no, I am not currently in Florida but will heading south as soon as things settle down there and here. I read your article and it is very clear that you have a total lack of understanding on this topic both with snowbirds rushing to get vaccinated and of the snowbird community overall. Firstly, you state that snowbirds are rushing to Florida. No we are not. The governor of Florida has put out a plea to us that it is safe to go down – honestly- they miss the dollars that snowbirds put into Florida each and every year. This is why an incentive was put forth – ability to get vaccinated – we pay taxes (very high) in the USA as most Americans do – so why would we not be eligible to get the vaccine sooner? If you did your research properly, you would know that 60% of Americans are opting to NOT get vaccinated (political reasons) – so who are we taking the vaccine away from? Also to be noted, the governor of New York State actually applied a batch of vaccine due to disorganized process to rollout the vaccine – so I ask again, what American are we taking away the right to a vaccine from?
    Secondly, do you honestly believe that snowbirds are so stupid to think that we would take the 2nd dose here in Canada? Do you not think that snowbirds would ensure both doses are taken BEFORE heading back home? It’s only 28 days difference between the two doses – most snowbirds are in Florida for 6 months. So your argument has absolutely no bearing whatsoever. You are just filling space. Thirdly, the vaccines that are authorized for distribution in the USA are IDENTICAL to those authorized for distribution in Canada, hence a registry of vaccine type date and time can be brought back to Canada so it can be entered into our health care system. Is that so cumbersome? Really? I think you had nothing to write about so pick on the snowbirds. In future please get your facts straight before writing about a group that you know nothing about.

    • Fred Beard says:

      Absolutely agreed, thinking that snowbirds would not wait to get both shots in the US. Canada will have zero supply, due to the incompetence of the government. Canada partnered with China and anyone with a brain knew that would be a dead end. And it was, then they approached the reputable pharma companies, and it was too late, and Canadians are now at the back of the line !

    • Cynthia says:

      Right on….like we would only take one shot here and wait to got home. My CDN friends and family are upset that I’m vaccinated…More upset that our won government – Ontario screwed up…. When I get home I’m covered…no worry of death, hospitalization, ventilator…Yes I could get covid but no that bad and NO I won’t be transmitting COVID if I get…cause once it leaves my body…its been hit by the vaccine….

      So those of us who are vaccinated…are the lucky ones and the SMART ONES…

  • Amy Lee says:

    I think this really loses sight of Canada’s multicultural nature. Many Canadians are dual citizens and live in other countries as expats which are in the millions, let alone the snowbirds. COVID-19 is an international problem and as another commenter pointed out herd immunity is global herd immunity, not Canadian herd immunity. Is it privilege that Canada thinks it can impose its ethical framework for distribution to another country? I think another country might say it’s more ethical to vaccinate all who live in slums first, or all who work in precarious jobs with no medical benefits and no paid sick days first. The question of documentation is no different than any other documentation when people immigrate, move for a job, or change identity. Why is this particular documentation being highlighted as a problem? No one even knows how long the vaccine effectiveness will last. The question could very well be moot.

  • Philip Russel says:

    A mayor in south Florida was addressing this issue of visitors getting the vaccine. He specifically identified snowbirds and while they are not permanent residents, they are here for extended periods and if they were to get sick, they too would just clog up the hospital system. As for concerns about a registry, if such a database is designed without taking these people in mind, fire the DB designer. Our family is mixed – some American, some Canadian. Taking issue with the fact that I have already started receiving the vaccine sounds like either sour grapes or suggests that you don’t have enough to think about.

  • John Adams says:

    The limited supply situation is the direct responsibility of policy failures of the Canadian federal government – including the misadventure with the Chinese government of the supply of product for a non-existent clinical trial – when compared to the performance of many other national governments including Israel, UK, Germany and USA. Therefore it is unreasonable and unfair to blame or penalize snowbirds for this policy failure. The idea of herd immunity suggests good policy means vaccination of all in each jurisdiction no matter status on basis of residency. 350,000 snowbirds vaccinated abroad would have the effect of an early increase in supply of vaccines available in Canada for non-snowbirds.

  • Randy Filinski says:

    These are personal reasons to head south and the snowbirds need to accept the responsibility of their choice in a very limited supply environment. They need to be appropriately put in a phase where supply is plentiful after all essential workers who stayed home to protect us have both their doses.

    This is the ethical decision.

    • Jane Bern says:

      But this is not an issue. There is no “ethical decision” in play here. Canadian Snowbirds in California and Florida were invited by the Governor’s of those States to be vaccinated. Moreover, essential workers as well as educators (teachers) all being vaccinated at the same time in the U.S.

      Today, the CDC has, again, established that even a single shot of Moderna or Pfizer (vaccines) will stop transmission in addition to preventing infection. But, Canada still insisting on questionable hotels being used to house returning travellers for up to three days, regardless of whether or not they have been vaccinated. How is that for ‘ethical’? How about ‘punitive’?

      • Brian J Durnin says:

        We spent the winter at our cottage in Lakeland Florida. I pay $950 taxes and own our land. Governor Ron DeSantis wanted to protect all seniors and offered the vaccine to all property owners in his state. Proof of ownership was required and closely monitored. We recieved both shots of Modena over a month ago. We certainly thank the past Federal and current State governments for the life saving vaccine.

        The Dictatorship in Canada is unbelievable and against Canada’s Charter of Rights.

        Snowbirds traveled legally to southern US on legal air flights and some shipped their vehicles by legal transport companies. A Warning is just that, a none binding warning.
        A ban is a legal stoppage of travel. We traveled during a warning, took steps to protect ourselves and others safely.

        3 covid test in 14 days is unreasonable, as is unlawful detention at the border.

        Snowbirds are coming home safer than their fellow Canadians.

        Shame on Canada, its dictatorship, and any Canadian who gives returning Snowbirds a hard time.

        4 months in Florida reminded me why FREEDOM is so important! Our soldiers have fought for freedom for 100s of years dont let one dictator take all freedoms from Canada. Thank You President Trump and Governor DeSantis for our vaccine and freedom! Thank You to our American friends for your protection, friendship, understanding and optimism.

        Long live the free U.S.A.!!


Jeremy Snyder


Jeremy Snyder is a researcher with Simon Fraser University’s Medical Tourism Research Group.

Valorie A. Crooks


Valorie A. Crooks is a professor in the Department of Geography at Simon Fraser University. She holds the Canada Research Chair in Health Service Geographies.

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