I recently got my 1st dose of (Pfizer) COVID vaccine in Canada and might have to wait 2-4 months (likely 2) for my 2nd dose.

I don't want to get into the debate about whether this is acceptable from a medical point of view. Let's just say - I want to do whatever I can to follow the manufacturer's guidelines and get the 2nd dose within a 3-6 week window.

To this end, I plan to travel to Dallas to get my 2nd dose.

My main question is this: What do I tell the border agent? Just that I am there to get a 2nd shot? I think this may not be good because an agent may not like it even if there is no law that says I can't visit for this purpose (lot of Canadians travel for cancer treatment for example).

Should I just not mention vaccines and say that I am there to visit friends? I do actually have friends in Dallas that I would like to see in a socially distanced/outdoor setting.

I chose Dallas, because this is the only direct flight from Toronto to a US state where it is explicitly stated that vaccines have no residency or citizenship requirements. So this seems the least risky option in terms of time spent in planes and airports.

I plan to stay in an airport hotel, take the vaccine and PCR test (for return to Canada) at the nearest pharmacy on the same day, have 1 day to recover and fly back to Canada on day 3.

Of course, I plan to double mask anytime I am indoors and follow all the protocols. Having a few weeks' time after the 1st shot should give me some protection too.

From what I can see, the uptake of vaccines has reduced drastically in Texas. On Dallas forums, I read about mass vaccination sites closing down and there are endless open appointments on pharmacy websites. So I feel that I am not really depriving an American of a vaccine. Also, spending thousands of dollars on an American hotel, American airline, rental car company, PCR test lab etc. should make up for me taking a free dose.

Update: Of course, I will quarantine when I get back to Canada as well and hopefully reduce the wait for a 2nd dose for someone else.

  • 2
    reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/… sounds like plenty of people are doing this without any attempt to hide it
    – ajd
    Commented May 9, 2021 at 23:31
  • 5
    Couldn't you get it anywhere closer? It'd be a lot safer to drive a car to North Dakota (for example) rather than get in a plane. I heard North Dakota has been vaccinating Canadian truckers.
    – gerrit
    Commented May 10, 2021 at 8:25
  • 3
    @gerrit I live in Ontario, how would I get to Manitoba? I would need to drive for 22 hours and take hotel stops along the way. Also, I am not a trucker or essential worker, so I cannot cross to US border by land. Commented May 10, 2021 at 12:37
  • 2
    Yes, rules are totally different for flying vs driving. The bar for driving is much much higher. Whereas anyone can fly in for whatever reason currently. Commented May 10, 2021 at 15:52
  • 2
    Here in Colorado, when you go for a second dose, you're expected to present your CDC vaccine card showing the date and type of the first dose. I don't know if they'd accept your Canadian card. Commented May 11, 2021 at 21:53

2 Answers 2


While this page "does not apply to entry into the United States from Canada via air" it still offers some valuable insight.

Visiting friends would be:

The following categories do not fall within the definition of “essential travel:” Individuals traveling for tourism purposes, such as sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events in the United States.


Who is considered an “essential” traveler

Individuals traveling for medical purposes (e.g., to receive medical treatment in the United States).

Therefore the simplest is to tell the truth: state you are seeking medical treatment not available in Canada. This would be accepted even on a land border. On further enquire, if there is one, I do not see why stating you are there for the vaccine would be a problem. This is always the best tactic with border control: never lie and never offer information unasked for.

This https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/vaccine-tourism-canadians-fly-south-for-shot-as-u-s-demand-falls-1.5416756 article offers stories where people openly went for the vaccine.

  • 11
    It IS taking advantage, since the US taxpayers have paid for them.
    – WGroleau
    Commented May 10, 2021 at 1:36
  • 5
    @WGroleau how much does 1 dose cost? I know Israel paid $30 per dose. I will donate that to the US treasury, if that makes you happy. I will probably pay more than that in sales taxes while I am in Dallas. Commented May 10, 2021 at 2:49
  • 3
    I have no idea what they cost. Knowing the way our Pharma works, probably ten times what they should have cost. Don't take it personally. You said "perceived" and I was just clarifying. Am I taking advantage when I buy my meds OTC in Spain for less than half of my US co-pay?
    – WGroleau
    Commented May 10, 2021 at 3:59
  • 5
    @WGroleau On the other hand, if US were willing to export vaccines to Canada, OP would probably have had their second dose by now.
    – gerrit
    Commented May 10, 2021 at 8:23
  • 8
    @HalfVaxxedCanadian if Texas has "explicitly stated that vaccines have no residency or citizenship requirements" then it doesn't matter whether you're taking advantage; the US and Texas political processes have explicitly concluded that it's acceptable regardless of whether anyone considers that it is taking advantage. Granted, an immigration officer might not see it that way. Also, because of the lowered demand, recent headlines indicate that states are passing up allocated doses. It may be that Canada will get some of those doses, reducing your wait for a second dose in Canada.
    – phoog
    Commented May 10, 2021 at 18:19

Well, this is all probably moot for Canadians now, but in case anyone is interested, I can share my experience.

I found a legitimate reason for me to be in the States (I don't want to share it) and the CBP officer had no issues with that. I took the vaccine in a Dallas CVS.

I got a CDC card with just the 2nd dose written on it and also an online receipt from CVS with the lot number and my details. Upon my return to Canada (post July 5), the physical card was accepted as proof of my vaccination (along with my 1st dose receipt that I received in Canada). I was able to avoid quarantine.

What is more interesting is that I overheard other officers actively encouraging other Canadians to get their 2nd shot in the US, even though the travelers didn't ask.

I hope people from other countries go and take their vaccines, wherever they can get it.

  • 2
    It should be noted, that the rules and regulations of the country you are traveling to is what counts. For travel to areas where these local forms are compleatly unknown is not a good idea. Getting an International Certificate of Vaccination booklet it the better option. Your doctor can fill out the needed entry and stamp it. Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 3:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .