November 8 and mixed vaccines!

Great news for folks that drive to Florida, and not using commercial transport. We can drive our cars, trucks, vans, motor homes and camper trailers (with vehicle attached of course) across the land border and into the US of A on November 8th… officially!

On top of that, the U.S. government has indicated that folks with mixed vaccines, presumably as long as both of those vaccines are recognized and accepted by the WHO, will be welcome to cross the border too.

This beach isn’t in the southern US, but it’s close. And the sentiment about being able to walk a beach and be reasonably warm in November, early December, and on makes this sort of thing a very strong draw to visit the Snowbird destination of our choice.

We know of two Snowbird couples that will be in the cohort heading for US border on November 8, anxious to get to their Snowbird destination after a long, long away. I expect they’ll have lots and lots of company.

Nah, not me. I suspect the line ups at border crossings on November 8 and for days after will be insane. I’ll pass, and head down later.

Cheers.

 

The land border to the U.S. from Canada is opening!!!!!

If you haven’t heard the news yet, and it’s ricocheting around the greater Snowbird community as if shot from a cannon, the U.S. government has decided that it will open the land border to the U.S. “early in November 2021”, that after being closed for 18+ months.

The ramifications are obvious to all of us that choose to drive to Florida.

Assuming we all have had two vaccines, and assuming that the U.S. accepts the two vaccines we’ve each had (please see the previous post for a list of vaccines accepted by the U.S. when that post was written) the rubber will start rolling right after as a stream of Canadian Snowbirds takes to the highways from Canada, across the U.S. border, and on to our Snowbird destinations.

At last!!!

Mixed vaccines OK’d by U.S.!

According to David Shepardson, Reuters news agency staff, and reported this a.m. (Oct 10/21) by CTV.ca, the U.S. will now accept WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines for international visitors.

This is great news for folks that followed the Canadian government’s guidelines, in the haste with which vaccines were disbursed in Canada, and accepted mixed vaccines.

As some may recall, we were told that mixing Pfizer and Moderna vaccines was acceptable and safe, but that decision hadn’t taken into account the instransigence of U.S. health and government agencies that, themselves, had not undertaken or completed the necesssary testing.

This from the CTV.ca news posting.  ‘A CDC spokeswoman told Reuters Friday, “Six vaccines that are FDA authorized/approved or listed for emergency use by WHO will meet the criteria for travel to the U.S.” ‘ It was not clear  (as so far I cannot find a list!) if the Astra Zeneca vaccine was included in the U.S. OK., although “Six vaccines that are FDA authorized/approved or listed for emergency use by WHO will meet the criteria for travel to the U.S.” will presumably include that vaccine but it isn’t clear.

As almost all Snowbirds now know, the U.S. continues to accept international and fully vaccinated travelers by air, but still has not opened the border to Canadian’s wishing to travel by personal conveyance or commercial land transit. This is of great importance to us Snowbirds with our pent up desire to get to our Snowbird warmer spots in the U.S. for the winter of 21/22.

Update…

It appears as though the U.S. will accept visitors with mixed vaccines that have been approved by WHO. The vaccines approved by the WHO, in no particular order, are:

Moderna mRNA-1273
Pfizer/BioNTech BNT162b2
Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) Ad26.COV2.S
Oxford/AstraZeneca AZD1222
Serum Institute of India Covishield (Oxford/AstraZeneca formulation)
Sinopharm (Beijing) BBIBP-CorV (Vero Cells)
Sinovac CoronaVac

Source:  https://covid19.trackvaccines.org/agency/who/

 

 

What if I’ve got two different Covid vaccines?

Here’s a pretty problem for budding Snowbirds. If one is planning on driving to the U.S. if and when the border is open for persons wishing to drive to their U.S.-south Snowbird home  “what if I’ve got two different vaccines?”

This issue really comes home for us. We travel with friends, and some of them have had the Pfizer vaccine (been Pfizerized, so to speak) but the second dose was Moderna (and they’ve now been Modernized as well!). As things stand right now, some of us can drive since we had either two Pfizer or two Moderna vaccines. Those of us that have had one of each are out of luck!

Yes, those folks have received two doses of Covid vaccines, and yes, both vaccines are authorized for use in both countries, but for  rather difficult to understand reasons – since there seems to be ample proof that a dose of each may actually improve anti-Covid antibody levels – the guardians of the U.S. border would not presently allow Canadians with one-of-each of the otherwise fully-authorized vaccines to enter.

The reasearch performed about this issue suggests that the “two vaccine doses from different suppliers” issue is being discussed at the “highest levels” by our diplomatic team.

What does that really mean?

Essentially nothing.

The border is still closed to Canadian Snowbird drivers. Whether a Canadian has had no, has had one or has had two doses of Covid vaccine means absolutely nothing pertaining to travel to the U.S. of A. from Canada by vehicle at this time since the border remains closed in early October 2021.

More to come… thanks for tuning in.

 

I don’t want a vaccine!

While I personally don’t understand the issue with the Covid vaccine given that literally billions of people have been treated with it, and it’s proven to be effective in reducing the severity of the virus if and when it’s caught, for folks that don’t want to take it, that is still their perogative.

If you and yours are that way inclined, it seems to me that Florida or other southern states are the right places to go for the winter.

For example, the governor of Florida appears firmly against systemic efforts to reduce the impact via vaccinations and apparently avoids helping residents and visitors to maintain a safe distance should they prefer.

Further, it seems lots of folks in Florida are, too, against taking the vaccine and efforts to mitigate the impact.

Similar thoughts can be had about Texas, and Arizona and so on.

Having myself been subject to delay in medical intervention due to backlogs in the health care system caused  the influx of very ill Covid patients desparate for medical help, I am puzzled by some folks desire to ignore all of the advice from around the world that suggests strongly that an immunized citizen is less likely to require dramatic medical intervention should that unfortunate become afflicted.

Nevertheless, it is still the right of individuals to choose for themselves.

Due to their bent towards no Covid protocols, going to to Florida or other southern destinations for the winter can be a choice for those who are less concerned about exposure to Covid.

There are caveats however.

Driving to the U.S. will, when the border finally reopens, be more and more problematic for those without vaccine proof.

Those without vaccinations will find that the premiums for health insurance (a must have for travelling internationally) will likey escalate or be unavailable.

Coming back into Canada will become increasingly difficult for those who have no proof of multiple vaccine injections prior to their arrival. If not just  in delays, financial impact may be severe.

Good luck to you should having no vaccinations  be your choice, and safe Snowbird travels to you.

 

Are we going south in the winter of 21/22?

September has rolled around, as it always does, and we’re glad to be here to see it happen again! What now? Do we have Snowbird plans? For us, is Florida in the offing as our Snowbird destination for this Canadian winter season?

The d**ned Covid disease is still wreaking havoc around the world, and though many of us have both vaccines now, for which we are very thankful, the possibility exists still that we may catch Covid due to emerging strains.

Also, since we tend to drive, the U.S. border is still closed to non-essential vehicular traffic heading south. Evidently, it’s the border guards that decide what is an “essential trip”, and if you guess wrong, you’ll be turned around, and then have to jump through the hoops to reenter Canada, as once you get into the “gray area” between border crossings, evidently, you are no longer in either country.

I’m reading reports that Canucks coming back to Canada by car are facing significant fines if their preparation for return isn’t up to Canada’s snuff, but then, how does one caught between two borders for the space of less than an hour, deal with this?

Don’t know at this point. Still checking. Stay tuned.

 

Nope. Not going to Florida this season.

Despite the fact that there appear to be a couple of promising Covid 19 vaccines on the horizon, smart money will bet that those medicinal interventions will not reach us “rank and file” folks until long after the politicians, wealthy, and, we hope, front line workers get vaccinated. That, coupled with the fact that Florida has seen almost 10,000 new cases of Covid in each of the last two days has convinced us. Nope. Not going to Florida this season, for sure!

With a population of about 21 million, and the total Covid 19 case count in Florida rapidly approaching 1,000,000, that means that almost 5% of the entire population of this state has died from, has it now, or had it and has recovered from Covid 19.  5%! This comes almost 8 months after the Covid pandemic threat became common knowledge and still the case count rockets upwards indicating to me at least that many folks in Florida don’t seem to believe that the threat is real, or don’t care enough about themselves and their fellow humans to protect each other from catching the virus.

Further, this Snowbird doesn’t see it getting any better for the Florida population until well into the late second quarter of 2021 when one hopes that a Covid vaccine is widely available for all, and that it is effective. That shuts us out from driving south to enjoy the Florida warmth during the 2020/2021 Snowbird season.

Yesterday we canvassed a bunch of friends that are seasonal Snowbirds too. All of them, barring two couples that have opted to fly down already are not going south this season either.

Sad, but you know, our unhappiness about not being able to Snowbird to Florida pales in comparison to the real suffering and anguish that so many in Florida and in the U.S. are experiencing daily. Good luck to you all. Our best wishes for your future, from afar.

Thus ends this blog.

Only 4 weeks until we head for Florida!

Only 4 weeks until we head for Florida… I would say in almost any other year. We’d be starting to gather the “stuff” needed for the trip and for our arrival in our Snowbird home.

But, we’re not going our regular time this year.

The Covid case count in Florida is climbing again this week of October 19, 2020. With thousands of folks finding out that they have Covid each day in our Snowbird state and with over 50 souls lost to this disease last week in Florida, oh my, it sure doesn’t seem to be getting any better there.

On a positive note, when we watch news reports from Florida we can see that lots of folks are wearing masks. That’s good. On a negative note we also see that lots of folks aren’t, and we’re not sure why. Is it possible that some people still don’t believe that this virus can infect them?

Sure, lots of folks have gotten Covid and come through relatively unscathed. But then, lots of folks have got it and died. Many of whom have recovered are still suffering from the disease weeks and months after they “recovered”.

Since we’re squarely in the demographic that says catching it will not bode well for us, we’re going to stay hunkered down and ride this until it clears. And then, we’ll be packed and on our way within a day or two of that and that’s for sure. It’s getting cold here.

 

Herd immunity in Florida Covid cases?

In a previous post I wondered if the U.S. government was letting Covid run rampant on purpose. Today I read an article headlined “WHO says herd immunity strategy is ‘simply unethical… Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it,” said Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.” Source: nbcnews.com

Not only that, but he goes on to say that “too little was known about immunity to COVID-19 to know if herd immunity is even achievable.”

The president of the U.S. has referred to the process of herd immunity before and I wonder if he figures that this is the way that the U.S. will see themselves through the Covid pandemic? If so, it’s not working. The U.S. is nearing 8 million Covid-19 cases  and the case count continues to climb in many states.

The WHO goes on to say (in the NBC article) that “while most people appear to develop some kind of immune response, it’s unclear how long that lasts or how robust that protection is — and that different people have varying responses.”

So “herd immunity” to Covid 19 may not even work even if that is the U.S. president’s strategy.

Oh Florida residents along with the many in the rest of the U.S.A., those afflicted and those at threat. I am so sorry for you. Good luck as this horror story unfolds in North America and around the world.

The real toll in Florida from the current Covid 19 escalation.

A few days ago I posted about how sad I was that I really didn’t believe the “rosier” statistics coming from the Florida Dept. of Health showing reducing Covid cases in the U.S. given that there had been additional, Covid-prevention-free business openings throughout Florida within the last few weeks.

As could be expected, the opening up of bars and restaurants has resulted in an ever increasing daily count of new Covid victims now showing up in the stats.

But the real toll, over and above the numbers of newly infected is the deaths. Almost 100 people have died from Covid and Covid related health threats in Florida in the last week. A 100 dead, just in Florida.

The refusal of the head of the U.S. government to formulate a federal-level, nation-wide and effective response to this worldwide thread is appalling. To me, it’s almost as if the federal government of the U.S. wants everyone to get it.

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