International student can't get a vaccine card, says Manitoba should 'find a way' to provide it

International students can't get a Manitoba health card, so they don't qualify for a vaccine card — but one person is calling on the the province to change that.

Those with study permits can’t get health cards, which are needed for vaccine cards

Fouad Naderi is an international student at the University of Manitoba. He's received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, but because he doesn't have a Manitoba health card, he can't get a vaccine card as proof. (Dana Hatherly/CBC)

Fouad Naderi was looking forward to the extra freedoms of being double vaccinated, but because he's not eligible to sign up for an immunization card, he's worried those freedoms will be revoked. 

Naderi is an international student at the University of Manitoba, pursuing a doctor of philosophy degree in mathematics. He had his second shot on Saturday and was disappointed to discover he can't register for an immunization card to show proof he's fully vaccinated. 

"The government should find some way for international students to get their immunization cards," he said. "They have the records of people who have received the second shot."

In an email to CBC, a provincial spokesperson said right now immunization cards are only available for people with a Manitoba health card. 

People who are not eligible for a Manitoba health card may contact their local public health office to get a copy of their immunization record, the spokesperson said. 

The province didn't specify whether an immunization record would grant the same privileges as an immunization card. The spokesperson said no one is available to provide further comment. 

Naderi said his wife and children are in Iran and he wants the flexibility to travel in and out of province to visit them or help with their immigration process. 

"My family is joining me here and this is really important. They might face a problem and I'd have to go take them somewhere else. It might be outside Canada, Toronto or Montreal. But without an immunization card, I can't … go," said Naderi.

International students can't get a health card 

Naderi said it's unfair that international students can't sign up for immunization cards just because they don't have health insurance. 

In 2018, the Pallister government abolished universal health care for international students, which means that those with a study permit aren't eligible for a Manitoba health card.

Naderi said he has contacted the province to see if there's an alternative option for him to get an immunization card and has not yet received a response.


  • A previous version of this story stated Fouad Naderi is pursuing a post-doctoral degree in mathematics. In fact, he is pursuing a doctor of philosophy degree in mathematics.
    Jul 05, 2021 12:59 PM CT