A New Brunswick event planner says the province is refusing to give him a third round of a U.S.-approved COVID-19 vaccine that would allow him to get back to work after he was off for a year due to pandemic measures.
Bruce Gauthier of Cocagne, N.B., said he has spent much of the last year working in his garden trying to relieve his stress. The technical director owns Bruce.FM Event Management and manages corporate live events hosted primarily in the United States.
He said that he hasn’t been able to book any work in over a year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“The live event industry has been decimated by COVID,” said Gauthier.
He said that business is finally picking up again south of the border, but he still can’t work in the U.S. because he’s had a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which currently isn’t recognized as proof of vaccination at some corporate venues across the border.
“My double vaccination won’t count if I go to the U.S., so now I am trying to get a third dose so that I am legitimate in the United States so I can pass the vaccine passport rules,” he said, saying he’s concerned that he will not be allowed to enter some corporate venues as a result.
On Monday, the White House said it will allow foreigners to fly into the country in November if they provide proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test. But it is still unclear whether the AstraZeneca vaccine will be acceptable and whether or not it will be accepted as proof of vaccination at some venues.
Gauthier said he doesn’t have time to wait. His events are in October and he is growing frustrated because he says the province will not allow him to get a third dose of a U.S.-approved vaccine.
“I am being told that the government has other priorities…the vulnerable,” he said.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses says it’s an issue that needs to be addressed across Atlantic Canada, according to Louis-Phillippe Gauthier, the federation’s Atlantic director.
“One would think that the provincial governments, with the realities that are imposed on small business owners that have to travel, that this would be a consideration that should be part of their plans,” said Gauthier.
New Brunswick Department of Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane stated in an email that some venues in the U.S. are currently not accepting AstraZeneca as proof of vaccination requirements, “Work continues with international partners to have vaccine interchangeability widely accepted.”
On Tuesday, the Nova Scotia Department of Health said it is considering providing, “Access to a third dose of vaccine to those who received mixed doses and are unable to travel as required by their job, therefore having their earnings negatively impacted”, stated Marla MacInnis, media relations adviser.
Gauthier says he wishes he could simply cross the border into Quebec where the government is doing just that.