Some countries won't accept Canadians who've received mixed COVID-19 vaccines.
Federal officials say the government is implementing an "international engagement strategy" to encourage other countries to accept Canadian travellers who have received mixed COVID-19 vaccine doses.
In a statement shared with Narcity, a spokesperson for the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said the plan hopes to encourage international partners to "recognize people in Canada who have received mixed vaccine schedules or extended dose intervals as being 'fully vaccinated.'"
The federal agency says that Canadians who received mixed doses were "following recommendations to protect themselves and their communities, and it is important that they are able to travel again once non-essential international travel resumes."
It comes as several countries, including the U.S., only recognize travellers with two identical doses of an approved vaccine as "fully vaccinated." In some places, the AstraZeneca Covishield COVID-19 vaccine is not accepted, either.
According to the federal government's latest data, over 3.8 million Canadians have received a mixed combination of COVID-19 vaccine doses, while thousands more got at least one Covishield dose.
In response, some provinces have started offering third doses of COVID-19 vaccines to support residents who want to travel internationally.
PHAC says the government's engagement strategy includes "sharing Canada's evidence and experience with mixed schedules of Health Canada-approved vaccines―for both AstraZeneca/mRNA and mixed mRNA doses―as well as extended dose intervals."
It says initial outreach has focused on the ongoing exchange of information with countries "with whom Canada has close, trusted relationships, including the U.S. and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United Kingdom, the European Union and the European Centres for Disease Control."
It's a message that was backed by Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam on September 24. She revealed that Canada has been presenting its data on the effectiveness of mixed doses and said talks are "progressing pretty well."
Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on the vaccines and can answer any questions you may have. Click here for more information.