Quebec’s health minister said the vaccination passport system will be implemented on September 1 to combat rising COVID-19 cases and the “inevitable” fourth wave.
“Taking into account the increase in cases, the decline with return to school and back to work, and the expected prevalence of the delta variant, the conditions are in place for the publication of the vaccination passport,” Christian Dube said.
Dube unveiled some details about the system, which Prime Minister Francois Legault announced last week, along with two public health officials – Dr Yves Galbert, the strategic medical advisor, and Caroline Roy, the advisor on matters related to the coronavirus vaccination campaign.
Vaccine passport will be implemented in places with high capacity and high contact rate, such as festivals, bars, restaurants, gyms and training facilities to avoid the widespread shutdown that marked the first waves of COVID-19 in Quebec.
When asked about religious gatherings and weddings, Dubey said the government is still debating whether to include them among events that require passports for vaccinations.
For now, the vaccination passport will not be used in retail stores or schools.
Watch | Dobby reveals the details of the vaccination passport:
Dube emphasized that the system is the only way to keep the economy open and still protect the health system from overwork as it was in previous waves. He says a fourth wave driven by a delta variable is “inevitable” in Quebec.
According to Galbert, Delta is behind a third of Quebec’s new infections, but public health officials expect it will make up half of them in the coming weeks.
While customers of some non-essential services, such as bars, will need to be vaccinated and have a QR code to prove it, the same will not be required of employees. Dube says giving employees vaccinations would violate labor laws.
Children under the age of 12 will not need to provide proof of vaccination as there are no COVID-19 vaccines approved for this age group. People 12 years of age or older, who are eligible for vaccination, will be required to do so.
When asked about people who can’t get the vaccine for medical reasons, Dubey said more details would follow regarding exemptions.
Quebec is still considering making vaccinations mandatory for health workers and has promised an update within the next few days. As for schools, Dobby had no additional information. A news briefing with Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge is scheduled for tomorrow.
Doby also announced the return of weekly press conferences to inform the governorate about the epidemiological situation.
2 pilot projects
The passport will be used in an application being tested this week. Two pilot projects are planned: one at a sports bar in Quebec City starting Wednesday for two days, and another next week at a gym in the Vimont district in Laval, just north of Montreal.
Dube says the government wants the smartphone app to be ready for use across the province by September, although people without a smartphone will be able to use paper vaccination certificates issued at vaccine centers. They can also print out their QR code or order a hard copy by mail.
Dube says the app will read a QR code sent to people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Businesses will need to download an app to read QR codes and customers will need a different app to view them. Both apps are supposed to be available later this month and will be free.
What kind of data does the app collect? “Nothing…it’s just a reading app, that’s it,” Dobie explained.
With regard to travelers from other provinces and from outside the country, Dube indicated that he is in talks with the federal government to harmonize the vaccination passport with ArriveCan application.
So far, 84 percent of eligible Quebecers (ages 12 and older) have received a first dose, Dube said Tuesday.
He said he would like to see all those who took one dose receive a second by the end of the month, which means 1.1 million doses should be given by August 31.
Dr. Gaston de Serres, a medical epidemiologist at the county’s Institute of Public Health, believes the vaccination passport system would be good at encouraging adults between the ages of 20 and 39 to get vaccinated. Vaccine reservations already shoot Following Legault’s announcement last week.
“We need to improve vaccine coverage in these age groups, which is clearly insufficient at the moment,” de Serres said, noting that the group’s vaccination rate falls under the county standard of 75 percent. This age group makes up about 50 percent of the county’s new cases, he says.
“So the permissibility of vaccination in this regard is certainly a useful tool to be an incentive for people to get vaccinated.”
Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante applauded the provincial government’s announcement of TwitterHe described it as “good news to ensure that our restaurants, bars and festivals do not overcome last year’s difficulties.”
It’s reassuring to hear the government’s goal of avoiding a new closure at all costs, says François Vincent, vice president of the Quebec wing of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
Civil Liberties Union of Quebec Despite this, the League for Rights and Liberties (LDL) objects to the vaccine passport regime, saying there has been no time for proper public debate and to point out concerns about data security.
Quebec joins two other provinces, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island, that require two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to access some non-essential services.