Canada does ‘everything possible’ to get the US and other countries to recognize mixed vaccines against AstraZeneca: Tam

Canadian officials have been providing the United States with, among other key travel destinations, data on the effectiveness of mixed doses of vaccines in the hope that the borders of those countries will eventually be opened to all vaccinated travelers.

As countries around the world try to determine their international vaccine requirements, millions of Canadians have found themselves in an unusual situation: Not all governments consider someone with two different doses of vaccine to be fully vaccinated.

But Canada is doing “everything possible” to get other health authorities to accept travelers with two different doses, said Dr. Theresa Tam, the country’s top medical official, on Friday.

The White House announced this week that most adult foreigners will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by early November if they want to fly to the United States.

What is still unclear is what this policy will mean for Canadians who have always been able to fly south of the border, or how it will affect the land border, which remains closed to non-essential travel until at least October 21, or what means for people who have two different doses of vaccine.

The US government for the most part does not recognize the vaccination status of people who have two different injections.

Over the summer, Canada began allowing people to mix Moderna and Pfizer, which are created using the same mRNA platform. Due to concerns about very rare blood clots, Canada was also one of the few places where people who had received a first injection of AstraZeneca were advised to stick with one of the doses of the mRNA vaccine.

The result has been travel headaches for some Canadians who have ventured out of the country only to find their official vaccination status in question.

While the mRNA vaccine mix, namely Moderna and Pfizer, is gaining recognition, this has been a particular challenge for people who have a dose of AstraZeneca and something else.

Everyone from cruise lines to big event venues to popular vacation spots like Barbados has been slow to recognize mixed doses.

Canadians can currently fly to States with a negative COVID-19 test. It was unclear when the recent announcement was made how the new policy, which requires proof of vaccination and a negative test of no more than three days, will apply to Canadians.

It’s a similar rule to the one Canada began to impose this summer, first on returning citizens and, finally, on all foreigners.

But the question mark is the American stance on mixed doses.

The american Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website states that “COVID-19 vaccine products are not interchangeable” but says you can mix the two mRNA injections, ie Pfizer and Moderna, under “exceptional” circumstances.

It’s not that other countries think the approach doesn’t work; in fact, several studies suggest that it is an effective strategy, but they may not have data on it because they are not doing it themselves.

With abundant supplies of mRNA vaccines, the United States never used AstraZeneca at all, Tam notes.

That vacuum has led Canada to step in and provide its own data.

Approximately 3.9 million people in Canada have received a mixed-dose regimen of COVID-19 vaccines, and an estimated 1.4 million of them have received a dose of AstraZeneca, according to data from the US Public Health Agency. Canada.

More than 223,000 people are fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca.

“Some of the European countries have already accepted this mixed schedule because they themselves also use those schedules, but we have yet to warn travelers that they must check in with the specific requirements of the country before traveling because it is a somewhat varied landscape. there, ”said Tam.

To that end, Canadian officials have provided information to their counterparts at the (CDC) and other agencies south of the border.

US officials are still “in the process of deliberation,” he said.

With files from The Canadian Press


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