‘You can jump the queue’: Canada’s snowbirds eye COVID-19 vaccination in Florida

‘You can jump the queue’: Canada’s snowbirds eye COVID-19 vaccination in Florida

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“We wouldn’t advise this for a few reasons,” he said. “First of all, you don’t know what availability is going to be like once you get there.”

Some of the people Fine has spoken to described “discontent” among some of the locals, angered that foreigners could get in line before citizens.

Canadian snowbirds travelling abroad have gained attention throughout the pandemic, with many opting to disregard foreign travel advisories to wait out the virus in warmer climates.

According to a study in November by Snowbird Advisor, which surveyed 3,000 people, 31 per cent of snowbirds planned to travel abroad this winter. Of the remaining respondents, 44 per cent said they would remain in Canada while 25 per cent remained undecided.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked on Tuesday about snowbirds travelling to the U.S. for vaccinations, and reiterated that the government “recommends against any non-essential travel.”

“It is safer for people to stay at home in Canada,” he said. He also repeated his claim that Canadians have access to “more vaccines per capita than just about any other country.”

As of Jan. 6, Florida, with a population of 21.4 million, had given 323,000 doses to people, including 115,000 people aged 65 and up. Ontario, with a population of 14.5 million, had administered a total of 42,000 as of earlier this week.

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Jeff Lerner said it is unclear how widespread the trend of Canadians getting vaccinated in Florida is, but said it might be the best of two bed options.

“I can’t say there are hordes of us who are doing it,” he said. “I’m only aware of the people I know. But the fact remains that the opportunity is there, and it’s just bizarre that it has presented itself.”

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