Health Canada said on Monday that the country will “expand its list of accepted vaccines for the purposes of entry into Canada and exemption from some testing and quarantine requirements. The list will include Sinopharm, Sinovac and COVAXIN, matching the World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing .”
Covaxin, developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, was approved on November 19, and will benefit many travellers from India. So far, of the vaccines used in India, only Covishield, the version of the Astra Zeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India had been approved for travel purposes.
Even as this measure comes into effect, India and Canada continue discussions over reciprocal recognition of vaccine certificates. Indian officials have also expressed their continued concern over the “bottleneck” created by restrictive testing measures imposed by Canada, where only a negative RT-PCR result from a test conducted at a single laboratory at Delhi airport within 18 hours of boarding the flight is accepted for travel to the country.
These relaxed measures go into place even as countries including Canada reassess their travel regimen due to concerns over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Canada has already imposed a ban on foreign national from seven southern African nations from entering the country, with exemptions for Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
Those considered fully vaccinated will also be able to avail of other exemptions including not being subject to testing on arrival, a mandatory 14-day quarantine period including another Covid-19 test on the eighth day.
To be considered fully vaccinates, the individual must have had their second dose of the vaccine series at least 14 days prior to entry into Canada.
As for Covaxin, provinces like Ontario, Canada’s most populous, are also issuing the standardised vaccine certificate, if those who have received two doses of the jab take a third dose of an mRNA vaccine in Canada.