Snowbirds in U.S. in line to receive COVID-19 vaccine before most Canadians

TORONTO — Snowbirds who make the annual trip down to the U.S. in search of warmer weather could receive a COVID-19 vaccine well before their Canadian counterparts.

In Arizona, officials confirmed that snowbirds will be eligible to receive the vaccine as local residents of the same age and health category.

Florida has also offered equal vaccine access to the snowbirds, and judging by the states’ current rollout schedule — that puts snowbirds months ahead of their Canadian counterparts.

Florida has already vaccinated more than 68,000 residents with their first shot of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.

“It’s great they’re taking care of the snowbirds who contribute so much to the economy over the years,” Liona Boyd, herself a snowbird, told CTV News from Palm Beach, Fla.

If Canada continues to remain behind the U.S. in vaccine rollout, many might consider the 14-day quarantine upon their return worth it to get a vaccine.

Martin Firestone, a travel insurance agent in Toronto told CTV News that he’s started receiving calls from clients saying that they “understand they can go down to Florida and get a vaccine” and be “way ahead” of where they’d be in Ontario.

It’s a prospect Prime Minister Justin Trudeau slammed in his news conference on Tuesday, saying “let’s be clear: this is not the time for a vacation abroad.”

But the numbers of those seeking sunnier climates and perhaps an earlier shot at the vaccine have slowly ticked up over the months, despite an $850,000 federal ad campaign urging people to stay home.

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