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Canada mandates domestic travellers must be vaccinated

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PHOTO: Canada will now only allow travel for vaccinated people. (via Flickr Marco Verch)

A sweeping new announcement from Canada’s Transport Minister at a virtual press conference yesterday declared that most passengers travelling commercially in Canada will be required to be vaccinated by this fall. The new requirement will apply to anyone travelling by plane, interprovincial train, and cruise ships or other ” large marine vessels with overnight accommodations”.

Canada has 71% of people above the age of 12 and eligible for a vaccine already fully vaccinated, one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, prompting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to comment often that a vaccine mandate just wouldn’t be necessary. But over the last few weeks the push for vaccinations has levelled off and more people are not getting vaccinated. A requirement like this would ensure safety for travellers domestically and incentivize people who are unvaccinated to go in for their jab.

The country already requires all federal employees to get vaccinated by the end of October in order to set an example for other businesses in Canada as the path towards safely reopening all business types in the country. Healthcare workers and teachers or school employees are not required to be vaccinated in many provinces in Canada, and public health officials hope to battle the currently surging fourth wave of Covid-19 by encouraging more mass vaccination in as many sectors as possible.

Hospitalizations are up over 10% last week and the active Covid-19 cases in Canada has doubled in 2 weeks. Canada’s Transport Minister asserts that people do not want to go back to lockdowns and the government taking action to protect the health and safety of Canadians is normal. Focusing vaccination efforts now on travel will allow mobility in the country and encourage people to get vaccinated.

Air Canada said they support the measure and that the science supports the measure as well. They called the plan a welcome step to protect the health and safety of customers and airline employees.

Canada has just started letting some international travellers back into the country this week with vaccinated Americans just south of their border the first to be let in. They expect by next month to allow people from other destinations as well, but only fully vaccinated travellers.

The United States on the other hand seems unlikely to implement any sort of vaccine mandate for airline passengers travelling domestically though the CEO of United Airlines said that it may be required for international travel. New Zealand officials recently discussed the future plans to reopen to international travellers saying that vaccines and Covid-19 tests are the new normal we must all get used to.

SOURCE: CNN

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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