WXMI — Canadians and Americans rejoiced over recent news that sometime in early-November, the border between the two nations will reopen to non-essential land travel. The move will reunite families and stoke economic activity that was on hold for nearly 19 months after historic border shutdowns to stifle the spread of COVID-19.
“It’s long overdue, I believe it’s a good thing,” said Michigan Rep. Tyrone Carter, (D) – Detroit, whose district shares a border with Canada. “I know it’s another country but we’ve always considered Canada just part of us.”
But one question lingers large over the announcement. In Canada, people who’ve received two shots – whether or not they are the same brand of vaccine – are considered fully vaccinated. In the U.S., a person must receive two doses of the same vaccine to be considered protected.
Roughly 4-million Canadians received mis-matching doses, according to CTV. The seemingly arbitrary concept has some of their citizens worried they may not be able to cross.
“If they don’t consider mine a full series or they’re not going to give me a full vaccine in order for me to cross, I miss out,” said Ashley Pinsonneault, a teacher and Canadian citizen whose dad and boyfriend both work in Detroit, a city she and her family frequented pre-pandemic. “I miss out on the Christmas market and being able to go to Target. It sounds so silly, but we miss these small things that we took for granted.”
This winter, her boyfriend graduates from grad school at Lawrence Tech, and Pinsonneault is worried she may not have clarity on the issue in time. Her first dose was AstraZeneca, before Canada had many other options. She later received a Pfizer shot for her second dose.
“I know the borders opening soon, which we’re so excited about, but there’s so much uncertainty for us Canadians now because majority of us are mixed dose, whether that’s Moderna/AstraZeneca, AstraZeneca/Pfizer, Moderna/Pfizer,” she said. “I think all of us are just so excited but…it’s a lot of uncertainty figuring out if we can even go.”
While the U.S. did announce it will let those immunized with vaccines approved by the WHO, FDA and CDC through, most shots were only approved as single-product regimens, the WHO’s strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization recommends mRNA vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna — can be used as a second dose following a first one with AstraZeneca if a second shot of the same is not available.
When asked about the issue of mis matched doses, Rep. Carter said the science shows two doses of any shot should be enough to let vaccinated Canadians through.
“I think that the science has proven that as long as you’re fully vaccinated, that means at least two shots, then you should be okay,’ he said. “I think two doses of something proven to be effective is far greater than not having anything at all.”