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Canada expands list of approved COVID-19 vaccines for travel

A full course of Sinopharm, Sinovac and COVAXIN vaccines will be acceptable under the new rules
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Canada will allow travellers to enter the country who received a full course of Sinopharm, Sinovac and COVAXIN coronavirus vaccines starting in November 2021.

Canada will allow travellers to enter the country who received a full course of Sinopharm, Sinovac and COVAXIN vaccines. 

Starting Nov. 30, Canada will expand the list of COVID-19 vaccines that travellers can receive to be considered fully vaccinated for the purpose of travel to Canada. The list will include Sinopharm, Sinovac and COVAXIN, matching the World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing. 

Currently, Canada only accepts travellers who have received the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccines

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra noted that "all vaccines approved under the emergency use listing must meet WHO standards for their quality and effectiveness." 

The announcement was made in a press briefing Friday (Nov. 19), when federal officials stated that Canada is dropping the mandatory PCR testing requirement for travellers making short trips outside of the country effective Nov. 30. 

This exemption is only for trips originating in Canada taken by fully vaccinated Canadian citizens, permanent residents or individuals registered under the Indian Act, who depart and re-enter by land or by air and can demonstrate that they have been away from Canada for less than 72 hours.

Starting on Nov. 30, everyone must be fully vaccinated to travel within Canada. A valid COVID-19 molecular test will no longer be accepted as an alternative to vaccination unless travellers are eligible for one of the limited exemptions, such as a medical inability to be vaccinated. 

As of Jan. 15, 2022, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign nationals will only be allowed to enter Canada if they meet the criteria for limited exceptions, which apply to certain groups such as agricultural and food processing workers, marine crew members, those entering on compassionate grounds, new permanent residents, resettling refugees and some children under the age of 18.

Canada is also reevaluating the entry requirements for U.S. travellers coming to the country and will provide an update at a later date.