Point Roberts, Wash., offers to vaccinate British Columbians

Few communities have been more isolated to due the pandemic travel restrictions than the small U.S. enclave of Point Roberts. Now, with most of the residents of the town full vaccinated, community leaders have come up with a plan to help vaccinate Canadians and start relaxing border restrictions. Catherine Urquhart reports

Few communities in North America have been more isolated due to COVID-19 border restrictions than the small U.S. enclave of Point Roberts, Wash.

Community leaders in the town that borders Canada but is cut off from the continental U.S. are proposing a plan that would allow them to share the town’s extra doses of COVID-19 vaccine with people who live north of the border.

Point Roberts Fire Chief Christopher Carleton said 70 per cent of residents have been immunized and the town would now like to use its excess supply to vaccinate U.S. citizens living in B.C. as well as British Columbians, focusing on those who have a residence in the U.S. town.

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“Point Roberts is in a position, unlike many others, to offer this controlled extension of assistance due to our geographical isolation and secured border passages,” he wrote in a letter to Washington state officials.

“As you know, Point Roberts does not provide open access to the rest of our country, but would allow more direct vaccination ability for our northern neighbors, while also supporting our local economy.”

Carleton said Canadians who have homes in Point Roberts can stay there, get both vaccines and then return to Canada.

“The Canadians would stay in their vehicles. We’d bring them to a location once they crossed over the border,” he said. “They would come to a location just over the border and go through a vaccine event. They would never get out of their vehicle; they would just roll down their window. They’d have to wait for 15 minutes or 30 minutes, depending on allergic reactions, and then could obtain a COVID test as well.”

Details would have to be worked out about British Columbians who would drive to Point Roberts for a vaccine and then return to Canada immediately, Carleton said.

President Joe Biden said Monday that the U.S. hopes to provide more AstraZeneca doses to Canada in the near future, after an initial “loan” of 1.5 million doses last month.

— With files from The Associated Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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