Cruise & Cruise Line
Carnival Legend To Explore The Western Caribbean From Galveston In 2025
3 Reasons to Escape Winter on a Trip to the Cook Islands
Doug Ford's government in Ontario is asking Ottawa to make sure that Canadians who received mixed COVID-19 vaccines will be allowed to travel internationally.
Cruise companies that operate trips out of the U.S. are refusing to accept mixed vaccines as proof of vaccination, which could leave some Canadians scrambling.
The issue of mixed vaccines has been bubbling along for some time, but it's come to a head lately as more countries bring in rules that require some kind of vaccine certificate or vaccine passport. France has begun requiring people to show proof of vaccination if they want to visit the Eiffel Tower and other attractions, and Italy is reportedly doing much the same thing.
But exactly what counts as full vaccination varies from country to country, and even from cruise ship to cruise ship. Which is giving travellers a mixed vaccine headache.
Norwegian Cruise Lines says their current rules for embarking or disembarking at U.S. ports state that only "single brand vaccination" will be accepted. "Mixed vaccination protocol will not be accepted," NCL said.
"Following CDC guidelines, guests embarking in the U.S.A. with a two-dose vaccination are required to have had two vaccines of the same type," a spokesman for Silversea told TravelPulse Canada. "For voyages departing from outside of the U.S.A., mixed vaccine inoculations are accepted."
The Toronto Star last week quoted a spokesperson for the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control as saying that "COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable" and that "the safety and effectiveness of receiving two different COVID-19 vaccines has not been studied."
The latter statement isn't true, at least not today. Reuters news service on Monday reported that a study in South Korea found that mixed vaccination program of first AstraZeneca and then a Pfizer COVID-19 shot boosted neutralizing antibody levels by six times compared with two pure doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine..
Royal Caribbean's blog site says those with a mix of AstraZeneca and either Pfizer or Moderna may be out of luck.
"Royal Caribbean will accommodate guests who are vaccinated with mixed mRNA vaccines, such as 1 shot of Pfizer and 1 shot of Moderna. The doses must be separated by at least 28 days and not more than 42 days," the company states.
"Royal Caribbean does not accept 1 shot of an mRNA vaccine (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) mixed with 1 shot of a viral vector vaccine (e.g., AstraZeneca).
"Mixed vaccines may not be accepted at all ports of call," Royal Caribbean warned. "Guests who are vaccinated with a mixed series may need to undergo additional testing at embarkation if they wish to go ashore in these ports."
Norwegian Cruise Lines isn't accepting mixed vaccines for cruises that depart on or before October 31 of this year. No decision has been made on cruises after that date.
In a story posted at CHEK news, a spokeperson for Cruise Lines International Association in Vancouver said the rules are clear.
"Itineraries operating to and from U.S. ports and waters are governed by the CDC," said Donna Spalding from CLIA. "At this time the CDC continues to define a fully vaccinated person as one who has received both doses of the same mRNA vaccine or a single dose of the J&J (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine."
The CDC has not approved Astra Zeneca as a vaccine for use in the United States, Spalding pointed out.
"I think over the next number of weeks and months there may be revisions provided by health authorities around the world with respect to these vaccine regimes," Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic Leblanc said last week.
There also has been confusion surrounding the acceptability of mixed vaccines for travel to various destinations. The Bahamas a few weeks ago suggested mixed vaccines weren't acceptable for would-be visitors, but that changed recently, according to a spokeswoman for Bahamas Tourism.
"Those with mixed vaccines (so long as the vaccine has been approved by The Bahamas) may enter," she said. "They recognize the same vaccines that we do in Canada."
The Government of Antigua & Barbuda's National Covid-19 Vaccination Technical Working Group, said Tuesday that is has approved the mixing of the AstraZeneca vaccine with either Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, or the mixing of a Moderna and a Pfizer vaccine.
:As such, the Ministry of Health & the Environment states that visitors who have had mixed doses of vaccines as noted above, will be able to enter the country. Antigua & Barbuda are already welcoming fully vaccinated travellers who have received both doses of a World Health Organization (WHO) approved 2-dose Covid 19 vaccine."
Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones wrote to LeBlanc and other officials on Sunday about the issue of protecting Canadians with mixed vaccine records.
"We ask the Government of Canada to work with the WHO to update its guidance to international partners that mixing vaccines should be internationally accepted as a complete vaccine regimen," the ministers said.
The Ontario ministers told the Trudeau government that it's critical for "the integrity and confidence" in Canada's and Ontario's vaccination programs that people who "have done the right thing" by taking doses of different vaccines are considered immunized abroad, Canadian Press reports.
Quebec's Health Department on Monday said it's making a third COVID-19 dose available to Quebec residents because some countries don't consider a person to be fully vaccinated if they've received two different vaccines.
"The administration of an additional dose of vaccine remains an exceptional measure for people who have an essential trip planned outside the country, in the short term, and that must meet vaccination requirements," Health Department officials said in a statement.
Huge Crowd, Big Energy As Air Canada Vacations Wraps Up Cross-Country Launch
Jim Byers was travel editor for five years at the Toronto Star, which has the largest travel section in North America. He has...
Explore the latest travel news, advice, updates, upcoming exclusive deals and more.
Kirk Talks Travel Recruitment with tripcentral.ca's Kevin Quin