White House plans Jan. 22 vaccine deadline for foreign essential travelers

November 24, 2021

Land Line Staff

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In October, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that beginning sometime in January all inbound foreign national travelers – including truck drivers – would be required to be fully vaccinated from COVID-19.

Now, we have a date. The Associated Press reported this week that the requirement is scheduled to kick in on Jan. 22. The mandate is already in effect for nonessential travelers.

The announcement of Jan. 22 follows a release from the Public Health Agency of Canada earlier this week that truck drivers and other essential workers will be allowed to enter the country only if they are fully vaccinated with one of the approved vaccines.

“After 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,” the Public Health Agency of Canada wrote in a news release. “Exempt unvaccinated travelers will continue to be subject to testing, quarantine, and other entry requirements. Nonexempt unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign nationals will be prohibited entry into Canada.”

The Canadian Trucking Alliance said on Nov. 19 that it would be “pressing Canadian and American authorities for more time to prepare for vaccine mandates” announced by both countries.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance said that “hasty implementation could spell even more trouble for the North American supply chain.”

Canada’s Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra said the requirement is meant to protect travelers and transportation workers.

“As we restart many aspects of our economy – including travel – vaccination will continue to play an important role in keeping each other and our transportation systems safe and secure,” Alghabra said in a news release. “No matter the final destination, ensuring travelers are vaccinated against COVID-19 protects travelers and transportation workers.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association says that getting vaccinated should be a personal choice.

“OOIDA has always maintained that vaccination is a personal choice, just like any health decision,” the Association said. “Throughout the pandemic, essential workers like professional truckers have continued operating safely back and forth across the Canadian border to ensure North Americans have the food and supplies they need. Drivers have done so without having to disclose their personal health history. We have seen all too often how unnecessary government mandates can force experienced owner-operators and independent truckers out of business. These requirements are another example of how impractical regulations will send safe drivers off the road. LL

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