Many snowbirds who travelled to the U.S. this past winter or spring received one or both of their COVID-19 vaccines while in the United States. And if COVID-19 booster shots are required going forward, it is likely that several snowbirds will get their COVID-19 booster shots in the U.S. as well.
Unfortunately, this has created a challenge at home, as many snowbirds - despite their best efforts - have encountered a variety of issues when trying to register COVID-19 vaccines they received in the U.S. back in Canada.
According to Health Canada, there is currently no national registry for COVID-19 vaccinations and they suggest individuals who received their vaccine outside Canada register with their provincial public health ministries or local public health offices
However, snowbirds who have tried to register COVID-19 vaccines they received in the U.S. with their provincial health ministries are facing a number of hurdles, including hard-to-find and conflicting information about how and where to register, as well as cumbersome registration processes. Some provinces don’t even have a process in place for recording COVID-19 vaccines received outside Canada.
Registering COVID-19 vaccines you receive in the U.S. with your provincial health ministry in Canada can be important for a number of reasons, including:
- Influencing Public Health Policies in Canada: The Federal government and many Provincial governments have stated that their policies with respect to re-opening and easing travel restrictions will be tied to vaccination rates.
By not including snowbirds who have been fully vaccinated in these statistics, governments are under-counting the number of vaccinated Canadians, which means it will take longer than necessary for things to open up again.
- Vaccine Passports: While no concrete plans have been put in place yet, there are strong indications that vaccine passports will likely become a reality for international travel - and possibly for other activities - where your vaccination status will determine the types of activities you are allowed to participate in.
Canadians who have been vaccinated but don’t have their vaccines registered with their provincial health departments may have issues proving their vaccine status if and when vaccine passports are instituted.
- Booster Shots: If COVID-19 booster shots are required in the future, having your previous vaccination record registered with your province could be important for many reasons, including but not limited to your ability to receive your booster shot without a previous vaccination record.
With all of these factors in mind, we reached out to provincial public health departments for information about each province’s process for registering COVID-19 vaccines received outside Canada and have created a central database for snowbirds below with information about where and how to register their vaccines in Canada.
We will continue to update this database as more information becomes available from the provinces and their registration processes evolve.
Last Updated: June 11, 2021
Anyone who has been immunized outside of the province can drop off a copy of their records at an AHS public health clinic to have those records entered into the system and count towards the provincial total.
Anyone who gets a first dose outside Alberta is able to get a second dose in Alberta when they are eligible. When they do, the first dose they received is manually added to the provincial system.
Work is underway to create a more automated process.
You can check your records if you sign up for an account or log into your existing account at: myhealth.alberta.ca/myhealthrecords
The B.C. Ministry of Health has provided the following information:
- For B.C. returning snowbirds who have had one shot, call the B.C. registration booking number and advise them and book your second shot. Call the following number 1-833-838-2323. You will need your healthcare # and all vaccine info.
- If fully vaccinated, go to your local public health office with proof of vaccine from another province or country.
According to a statement from the Manitoba government, if you received a COVID vaccine outside Manitoba and the vaccine that you received is one of the four approved for use in Canada (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Covishield, and Jannsen/Johnson & Johnson), that information can be added to your Manitoba Immunization Record. You must provide the official documentation from the jurisdiction which indicates:
- Name of the COVID vaccine(s) you received
- Date of vaccination(s)
You must also provide:
- Spelling of First and Last Name
- Date of Birth (mm/dd/yyyy)
- Manitoba PHIN (9 -digit MB Health Number)
- Daytime phone number
The information can be submitted by mail, by fax, or dropped off in-person to your local Public Health office. Please provide copies of any original documentation and keep the originals.
Those who received their first dose in another jurisdiction can contact teleservices at 1-833-437-1424 to book a second dose, once second dose sequencing is announced.
New Brunswick will have more details to share soon on how people vaccinated outside the province can report their vaccination status.
Newfoundland did not provide a response to our request for information.
You can try asking your doctor, pharmacist or local public health office if they are aware of a way to get your vaccine record registered with the province.
Nova Scotians who receive their first dose outside the province can contact their local public health office upon return to report that they have received their COVID-19 vaccine.
If you only received one dose of vaccine, you can receive their second dose in Nova Scotia. The process at this time is by request, but the province is working to streamline the process within its centralized booking system. The most up-to-date information on this process is available at www.novascotia.ca/vaccination.
It is recommended that people retain a record of each of their COVID-19 vaccines regardless of where they were received.
On June 9th, Ontario announced that residents who received full or partial vaccines outside the province can contact your local public health office to register your information.
Prince Edward Island
According to a response from the PEI government, if a snowbird is receiving their second dose in PEI, they should bring their first dose record with them to the clinic and it will be entered at the time of the second dose.
If they received both doses out of province, the PEI government is working on a process for getting this information into the PEI Immunization Registry and will be providing instructions for people in this situation soon.
According to the Montreal Gazette, Quebecers who have been vaccinated outside Quebec, including snowbirds, will be able to register their vaccinations with the province.
Those who want to do so must make an appointment at a mass vaccination centre via the Clic Santé website, the provincial health department said in a statement.
You can get an appointment to register your vaccine by visiting portal3.clicsante.ca then clicking "select a service" you choosing "Covid-19 vaccine received outside Québec" and entering your postal code.
If a second vaccine dose is needed, it can be administered at the same time.
Many vaccination centres across Quebec have been designated to register COVID-19 vaccines administered outside the province, the department said, including the Palais des Congrès and Olympic Stadium.
When you visit the vaccination clinic, you will need ID and proof of vaccination issued in the country where the dose or doses were administered.
Following the entry of the information in the vaccination register, Quebec will issue an electronic proof of vaccination via email or text message.
According to a response from Saskatchewan’s Health Ministry, if residents have been vaccinated outside Saskatchewan and want their immunization information captured in their Saskatchewan health record, this can be arranged. Visit eHealth Saskatchewan's website at https://www.ehealthsask.ca/ or call at 1‑844‑767‑8259 (and press 3) to learn more.
You will be required to fill out a form and provide a copy of your immunization record/documentation. This applies to first/all doses administered outside Saskatchewan. Your Saskatchewan health record should be updated within 3-5 business days of providing the required information and documentation.
This is also noted in a vaccine Q&A from the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
Those who are fully vaccinated and requesting self-isolation exemption, and received immunizations outside of the Yukon or BC, can submit their immunization record to the Yukon web portal.
Returning Yukoners who require a second shot can book an appointment through the CanImmunize online booking tool and bring proof of vaccination with them to the clinic. It should be noted that Yukon is currently only providing Moderna.
The Northwest Territories did not provide a response to our request for information.
You can try asking your doctor, pharmacist, or local public health office if there is a way to get your vaccine record registered with the province.