Boston chronicles – the vaccine proof question

Someone asked me via email how the whole vaccine question was handled crossing the border between Canada and the US.

I thought about researching the dates when various mandates or restrictions were lifted, then comparing between the two countries but you know what? I really didn’t feel like it.

All I remember is that mandates were recently lifted in both countries, and although certain provinces or states, as well as certain industries, continue to recommend certain measures (masks, boosters), for the most part, both countries appear to act as if they consider the pandemic over.

However… 🙄

Traveling across international borders is never simple when it comes to these circumstances. Everybody knows how deeply divided the attitudes are toward vaccines and masks in many locations, but especially in the USA.

To elaborate: here in Ontario 🇨🇦, in order to get the kids back into school and activities, vaccines were mandated in 2020. We didn’t fight it then because we saw how detrimental the continuous and repeated lockdowns affected the kids (and really, everyone), so we marched to the clinic and obtained the QR codes needed to access schools and rinks. The social isolation took a huge toll on too many people and the mental health crisis was (still is) in dire straits, especially with the kids.

Last month, my phone with that QR code broke and I never bothered reloading the QR code into my new phone.

Until… My mom mentioned something about carrying vaccine proof across the US border prior to the Boston trip.

I got defensive and told her that we no longer needed it and cited some government statement posted on some website.

Next, my mom spoke to my sister, who was also coming to Boston. She is a nurse and works in the health care industry and she said it would be better if we had all the documentation just in case they asked.

Of course, this whole scenario worried my mom because she didn’t want any or all of us to be turned back at the border prior to entering Boston. She saw a news segment the week prior in which a Canadian family was turned away at the Buffalo border because one of the children wasn’t vaccinated.

Fine. I went back to my provincial health website, dug up the information I needed, and was issued my QR code and the receipts to prove that I had received the first two vaccines. The QR code is back in my phone.

Then we went to the airport.

I had mentioned previously Mother’s Day weekend was not a heavy travel weekend. The airport was buzzing but not overly busy. In Toronto, we saw very few masks in both Pearson and Logan airports.

No one asked anyone for vaccine proof in either airport.

And, none of the security nor the customs officials wore masks, although some food store personnel inside the airport in Canada wore masks.

None of the flight or cabin crew wore masks either.

I personally did not wear a mask either and didn’t bring one with me, thinking if someone made a fuss they can provide us with a mask.

No one made a fuss.

If you plan on traveling to Canada or the US this summer, I can only give you the benefit of my personal experience. I know one person, a friend of mine from Toronto, who recently traveled to Europe who was not vaccinated and did not have proof of vaccines. She’s in Europe now so she must have been able to travel without any issues.

If you’re outside of North America, and wish to travel to Canada or the US, my advice is read the federal and provincial/state laws as close to your date of entry as possible so you are informed before arriving.

However, don’t take this advice as gospel, either. If there is one thing I can say for certain about how the COVID issue was handled between the two countries 🇨🇦🇺🇲 is that there was no logic and no consistency, and apparently there still isn’t. Why else would they turn a Canadian family away at the border in Buffalo because one child wasn’t vaccinated? After the various levels of government lifted mandates and restrictions?

Your guess is as good – or bad – as mine.

This post is not meant to be a political statement from me to you whether I agree or disagree with masks or vaccines. I’m simply reporting what I saw. I don’t care one way or the other if somebody wants to get boostered or wear a mask or not; by all means if you feel better wearing a mask then do so. If you want to get a shot, go ahead. I will respect your decision and act respectfully around you. In return, I expect the same treatment from you.

I don’t want this post to turn into a pissing contest of who is right and who is wrong, so think carefully how you wish to comment on my blog. I welcome exchanges of opinions but I won’t tolerate berating someone’s choice and will delete or block if necessary. Share your view if you want without insulting someone for having a different opinion.

Thank you for reading. We will now return to regular programming. 🙂

Coming up:

  • A visit to the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University Arboretum
  • Copley Square
  • Boston Public Library
  • and much more

Stay tuned! And thank you for stopping by my blog.

Previous posts about the Boston experience can be found here:

17 thoughts on “Boston chronicles – the vaccine proof question

  1. I agree: to each their own. I actually never got a third COVID booster, just because we were so busy with the move…and then I got COVID. Other than a few random mask-wearing individuals, it’s pretty much life as usual these days. It feels very pre-pandemic actually.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope you gave your mother a SIGNIFICANT look. LOL

    I think my German friends had to submit some kind of paperwork prior to their flights proving they were vaccinated. I think we were holding our breath for a week waiting for the approval. It was a relief when the US said “Ok, you can come.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing. I also had friends (mom and two kids) arrive from Germany to Canada last September and if I remember correctly they had to provide a negative test at that time… 🤷‍♀️ That’s just a few months ago. Constant changes.


  3. So interesting to read all this. I’ll check again soon but least time I looked (only a few weeks ago) the US has compulsory Covid vaccines listed as an essential entry requirement.

    Australia (my home) quietly dropped this in 2021 and we’re up to our 6th booster being ‘encouraged’ rather than strictly mandated, as in early 2021. The sheer bureaucracy of trying to manage who’s has had what, and given the publicly available evidence of efficacy of the first 2 injections only lasting 2-4 weeks, I can only assume these are reasons behind the ‘slow fade’ of mandates. Not to mention disruption to the economy.

    It all makes for confusion and lack of confidence when travelling. I remember in October 2021 I left my own state for a short holiday and there was all this scare mongering on both sides that we might not be ‘let back in’. Unfortunately this really did happen in 2020, where families and individuals were locked out of their home states, and literally thousands of Australians were stranded overseas (at huge expense and hardship), because the Oz Gov would not allow them back home, in an attempt to quarantine us).

    Happily nothing happened on our holiday; we were never asked for proof of vaccination and there were no mask mandates in the holiday destination. This issue with the US federal and separate state laws has convinced us that it simply not worth the risk to travel there at the moment. So Claudette, I’m happy to live vicariously through you, as Boston was our debit destination on a one-month tour of New England, lovingly planned, booked and paid for in April 2020. 😪 And of course those tears are also for the missed opportunity of meeting you too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand, and my heart aches for you. ♥️

      It’s a little bit easier for us to navigate between 🇨🇦 and 🇺🇲 because it’s much closer to home (I can drive to multiple borders from Toronto in 2-5 hours)… But that doesn’t mean it’s not irritating with all these ever-changing rules and regulations. The fear mongering drives me a little bit nuts, even after I admittedly fell for it in the early weeks of the first lockdown. I am no longer sucked into all of that, but when I watch especially some of the elderly generations walk around with masks and mittens even while outside because they are petrified of picking up a disease in the fresh air that will make them sick, it first breaks my heart and then makes me angry. I’m against police-state-like governing but that’s what it feels like is happening in many regions. Sigh.

      I hope you get to do over your trip very soon! In the meanwhile, I will do what I can to share my experience. Keep in mind I had a very short trip and we stayed with friends of the family rather than in hotels so I don’t have much to say as far as service is concerned. We also ate at the family home and not out in restaurants, so there’s not much I can tell you about the food. However, there are a couple of memories popping up from my business trips into the USA from years ago relating to food I might inject into my stories…

      Anyway, stay tuned! Thank you for commenting and be well out there in Australia! 💟

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing your experience, Claudette. I think it’s such a mixed bag – still. Folks aren’t sure what might be expected, and many are following the ‘better safe than sorry’ route by having access to vaccine info, just in case, but like Deb said it seems to be “over” in that masks are rarely required where I’m at in the U.S. But…I also share that sense of foreboding about other viruses and calamities to come. 🤍I hope not…but…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed. There’s that inkling there may be similar occurrences and we better be prepared, just in case…

      Meanwhile, traveling seems to have relaxed somewhat again, which was a good thing for us. 😊

      Thank you for commenting, Victoria.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “I don’t want this post to turn into a pissing contest of who is right and who is wrong, so think carefully how you wish to comment on my blog.” WordPress needs a love button. Ha, ha, beautiful written Claudette. Thank you. Forgetting all the vaccine stuff, I hope your trip was a fun one!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The US has officially declared the pandemic to be over so it would seem rather odd that anyone still needed to show proof of vaccines to enter. It was enough to keep track here so I never really followed what any other country did, or still might do. Given I have no plans for international travel then I’ve let go of the whole thing. I haven’t masked in ages but I have a large stockpile if everything takes a nose dive again or for when the next pandemic comes along.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think we are all more aware and will be better prepared the next time something like this happens. I’m convinced we haven’t seen the end of these contagious respiratory issues… But I also approve of tackling healthy immune systems from the perspective of an all-encompassing approach to good health choices.

      Thank you for commenting, Deb. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is exactly how I feel, Claudette! Do as you will and leave me alone. I planned on wearing a mask last weekend at the movies, but it was a huge room and no one sat next to me, so I didn’t. I also do not want disagreeable political rants in my comments. They can post that stuff on their own blog!

    Liked by 2 people

Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.