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Point Roberts, Wash., offers to vaccinate British Columbians if border restrictions are loosened

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 loosen border restrictions to share the town’s extra doses of COVID-19 vaccine with people who live north of the border.

Click to play video: Point Roberts citizen told medical appointment not considered essential travel to Canada

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.

Read more:
‘We’re suffering and they don’t care’: No border travel exemption for Point Roberts

“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.”

Click to play video: Talks underway for B.C. truckers to get COVID-19 vaccine in U.S.

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.

Click to play video: Will U.S. President Biden help end Point Roberts’ isolation?

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

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