Canadians who move between provinces or move temporarily, if, or when they face a confusing set of rules against COVID-19, which experts say could cause some delays from vaccination is.
Provinces like BC are vaccinating any eligible person living there. This contrasts with jurisdictions such as Alberta and Manitoba that can prove how long documents have been required in the province. They could also ask non-residents to wait for three months to book an appointment.
Inconsistent policies around the country have caused some Canadians to wait longer than necessary to receive the vaccine. Anita Ho, a biologist and healthcare-researcher, said that a Canadian should use the vaccine wherever they live in Canada.
“The Canada Health Act states that all Canadians and residents should be able to receive health care,” Drs. Ho said.
“We are in an epidemic. We have an emergency. There seems to be no good reason to think about how people should have residency to vaccinate. “
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Dr. Ho said the Canada Health Act requires provinces to ensure portability so that people can take immediate care if they are absent from their home province. In general, anyone who moves to another province must wait three months before applying for health coverage; In the interim, they are covered by the province they left.
She said that from the standpoint of fairness, if a province is forcing people out of the province, the act should be re-enacted.
Dr. Ho said, “There should be no separate province that says no.”
BC provides the vaccine to anyone living in the province and does not require a BC Health Card, or any document that proves Canadian citizenship, said Senior Public Affairs Officer of the Ministry of Health of BC Marilyn Tounsey .
Vaccines are booked through an online service, but people without a card can register by phone or in person at the service BC office. Eligible registered candidates receive a provisional reference number that they present at the time of their vaccine appointment. Those who have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose in another province may receive their second dose in B.C.
In Alberta, any non-permanent residents are required to remain in the province for at least three months to be able to receive the vaccine. Pharmacists or immunization clinics may request written documents that prove how much time a person has spent in the province. However, Alberta Health’s assistant communications director, Tom McMillan, said the documents are not required because the province is “operating the honor system”.
Unspecified residents in the province are required to register with Alberta Health Services, which will issue them a unique lifetime identifier to track their vaccination records.
Manitoba officials say anyone who has been in the province for a month can be vaccinated, but pharmacists and vaccine clinics do not need any official documentation proving length of stay. Non-residents will be asked for a form of identification so the province can track these vaccinations, said Medical Lead Joss Reimer of the Vaccine Task Force of Manitoba. However, the province has no way of proving whether a person has the first dose in another province.
“They will be asked to make a self-declaration,” Drs. Reimer said. Currently Manitoba is prioritizing giving the first dose of vaccine to all eligible manitobans.
The Ontario government states on its website that anyone without an Ontario Health Card is eligible for the vaccine and suggests contacting a local public-health unit, where they will ask for other forms of identification and confirm eligibility.
A person can also call a pharmacy to book a second dose if the first shot was received in another province. The pharmacy may ask for information about the vaccine where and when it was given, but the website does not list whether this information may disqualify a candidate. There is also no mention of how long Ontario needs to be considered eligible for the shot.
On the east coast, Nova provides vaccines to anyone living in the province of Scotia, regardless of how long they have lived there. However, it would not offer a second dose of vaccine if the first dose was administered in another province. Nova Scotia recommends booking an appointment over the phone if a qualified candidate does not have a Nova Scotia Health Card, said Marla McInnis, a media-advisor consultant for the province’s Department of Health and Welfare.
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