No COVID test required for fully vaxxed travellers at U.S. land border starting Nov. 8

It remains unclear whether Canadians who mixed vaccines will be admitted

Peace Arch border crossing | Getty Images

The U.S. is set to reopen its land borders with Canada and Mexico beginning November 8, according to the White House.

Assistant press secretary Kevin Munoz confirmed the exact date on Twitter Friday following an initial report from Reuters.

The outlet reported a negative PCR test for COVID-19 will not be required by American authorities.

Ottawa still requires a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival from all travellers entering the country, be it by land or air. Those tests typically range in cost from $150-250 each.

“It’s a live issue right now,” Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said during a Friday briefing.

He said health officials continue to collect and analyze data to pass on recommendations to decision-makers.

Njoo added 0.2% of fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada have tested positive for COVID-19.

“It’s less than 1% but if you look at the volumes of people increasing coming into Canada as a percentage, the actual true number of people coming would obviously be increasing as well,” he said, referring to the reopening of borders.

“At the end of the day, it’s a matter of sort of looking at [things] from a risk perspective.”

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam also noted Canada is still in the midst of a fourth wave of the pandemic.

“We’re in a situation in Canada where our health systems are still very fragile,” she said, adding health officials are having ongoing discussions with the Americans about plans moving forward.

Meanwhile, it also remains unclear whether Canadians who mixed-and-matched vaccines will be accepted into the country. 

While Canada has pursued mixing and matching vaccines, the practice is not being undertaken by the Americans.

And unlike Canada, the U.S. has not approved the AstraZeneca plc vaccine.

But the Americans previously announced that foreign travellers who’ve gotten their jabs with a vaccine approved under the World Health Organization’s emergency use listing will be recognized as eligible for entry into the country. AstraZeneca falls within that scope.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Tuesday the country’s land borders with Canada and Mexico would reopen next month. No exact date was provided at the time.

The land border between Canada and the U.S. was initially closed to non-essential travel at the outset of the pandemic in March 2020.

Canada reopened its border to fully vaccinated American travellers back in August 2021, but the move was not reciprocated by U.S. authorities.

However, the Americans have allowed Canadians to enter the U.S. on non-essential business via air travel throughout the pandemic.

U.S. authorities also revealed Tuesday that foreign travellers entering the country must be fully vaccinated by January — be it for essential or non-essential travel.

torton@biv.com

@reporton